Set : Find the Right School
Do you want to stay close to home, or move far away? Are you really into sports, or want a school that has more art and cultural activities? Are you hoping to live on campus in a residence hall, or in an off-campus apartment?
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Academic Programs in Washington State
Finding the programs you want to explore—and the schools that offer them—can be time-consuming. Online resources like careerbridge.wa.gov can help. The site allows you to search by school, location, degree type, and even academic program—from mechanical engineering to creative writing, or special education to biology.
These are things you will consider when choosing a school. While academic programs are very important, there are a lot of factors that go into picking a school or program.
If you haven’t already toured campuses, you should consider visiting those in your area. This will give you a feel of the environment. It will help you to decide whether you want a large or small school and whether you want a higher traditional or nontraditional student population.
The best way to know what kind of school to attend is to first consider all of your options. Maybe you already know whether you want a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree, but if not, below are short descriptions of the different kinds of schools you can attend.
Two-year colleges are usually called community or technical colleges. Examples of these includeBig Bend Community College and Lake Washington Technical College. These schools offer associate degrees and certificate programs. Washington community and technical colleges teach specific subjects like computer programming, graphic design, early childhood education, and automotive technology, and general subjects like history, math, and English. With some two-year degrees, you can transfer directly to a four-year school. Two-year colleges are also a great resource for apprenticeships and other trade-based education programs. For more information on apprenticeship programs in Washington, visit the Labor & Industries apprenticeship program webpage.
Four-Year Colleges and Universities
Four-year colleges and universities are popular choices for students who go to college right after high school. These can be public, like The Evergreen State College, or private, likeWhitworth College. Both types offer certificates, four-year degrees, and graduate degrees in areas such as business, history, biology, math, English, education, and more.
Private Vocational Colleges
Private vocational colleges are sometimes called voc-tech or trade schools. They often partner with unions and trade groups to offer apprentice and journeyman programs in fields like plumbing, carpentry, or welding. The length of each program varies, but many can take three or more years to complete. Make sure the program you're interested is a state-registered apprenticeship program by checking the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries'apprenticeship program webpage.
Proprietary or For-Profit Schools
Proprietary or for-profit schools can offer master’s and bachelor’s degrees, but most also offer associate degrees or certificates in fields like office management, medical assistance, cosmetology, dental hygiene, computer systems engineering, and more. Examples of these schools include the University of Phoenix, Bryman College, and Clare’s Beauty College. Again, the length of each program varies. Many take less than one year to complete.
Try not to get too hung up on the cost of school, since there are a variety of financial aid resources, but it is still an important component to consider.