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College Basics

The college preparation and application process is relatively simple, once you familiarize yourself with the college basics. The topics below will help you learn more about college basics:

Why attend college?
Examples of Jobs Recommending or Requiring a Degree
Types of Postsecondary Schools
Types of Degrees
College Admission Terms

Why attend college?
A college degree can open doors and provide many opportunities in life. A college education means:
Greater Knowledge
A college education will increase your ability to understand developments in science and in society, think abstractly and critically, express thoughts clearly in speech and in writing, and make wise decisions. These skills are useful both on and off the job. A college education will also help you learn how to think critically and analyze information.

Greater Potential
College can expand your knowledge and increase your potential to get a job. It is a challenge that teaches you responsibilities and betters your life. A college education can help increase your understanding of the community, the nation, and the world – as you explore your interests, discover new areas of knowledge, consider lifelong goals, and become a responsible citizen. A college education also provides greater knowledge of and appreciation for different ideas, philosophies, cultures, and people.

A college education also provides you with an increased network of references for a future career. What you do in college is as important as your grades because the contacts and friends you make will be the people who recommend you when you begin to look for a job.

Increased Job Opportunities
The world is changing rapidly. Many jobs rely on new technology and already require more brainpower than muscle power. In a person’s working life, more and more jobs will require education beyond high school. A college education will increase the number and variety of jobs from which you can choose. A college degree is synonymous with higher income, a better standard of living, and a more satisfying job.

More Money
Overall, a person who attends college earns more than a person who does not. For example, in 1997, a person with a college degree from a four-year college earned approximately $18,000 more in that year than a person who did not go to college. Someone with a two-year associate's degree also tends to earn more than a high school graduate.

A college education can increase your earning power. Men between 24 and 34 years of age can earn 54% more with a college degree than if they only had a high school diploma. Women in this same age group can earn 88% more.

Career Advancement
Many companies now require a college education for any promotion to management positions. Even a two year degree can be all that stands between you and the desired career change.

Examples of Jobs Recommending or Requiring a Degree:
The Chart below is a partial listing of different occupations and the educational background generally required or recommended for each. Some people who go on to acquire jobs in the four-year-college column obtain a graduate degree or some graduate education, but many of these jobs can be filled by people who do not have more than a four-year college education. For more information on the educational requirements of specific jobs, contact a guidance counselor or check the Occupational Outlook Handbook in your library.
Two Year College (Associates Degree)
• Administrative Assistant
• Automotive Mechanic
• Cardiovascular Technician
• Commercial Artist
• Computer Technician
• Dental Hygienist
• Drafter
• Engineering Technician
• Funeral Director
• Graphic Designer
• Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technician
• Hotel or Restaurant Manager
• Medical Laboratory Technician
• Medical Record Technician
• Insurance Agent
• Registered Nurse
• Surgical Technologist
• Surveyor
• Visual Artist
• Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

Four-Year College (Bachelor's Degree)
• Accountant
• Computer Systems Analyst
• Dietitian
• Editor
• Engineer
• FBI Agent
• Investment Banker
• Journalist
• Medical Illustrator
• Pharmacist
• Public Relations Specialist
• Recreational Therapist
• Research Assistant
• Social Worker
• Teacher Writer

More Than Four Years of College (Various Graduate Degrees Required)
• Architect
• Biologist
• Chiropractor
• Dentist
• Diplomat
• Doctor
• Economist
• Geologist
• Lawyer
• Librarian
• Management Consultant
• Paleontologist
• Priest
• Psychologist
• Public Policy Analyst
• Rabbi
• Scientist
• Sociologist
• University Professor
• Veterinarian
• Zoologist

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Types of Postsecondary Schools

Credit: Preparing Your Child For College: 2000 Edition published by The U.S. Department of Education


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