We’ve covered on our blog that there are multiple forms of higher education. But I think it might be important to take a step back and ask the question- but what is the purpose of higher education?
Looking at a broad, overall answer, the point of obtaining a higher education beyond high school is to gain the knowledge needed for a profession. It gives you a specialized field of study that later you can boast to potential employers. But, there is also a long list of other reasons we as humans work hard to obtain a higher education. They are (but not limited to):
The social skills that inadvertently come with being in a school setting.
Networking with professors, potential future employers, and peers.
Proving that you can work hard and achieve something that takes hard work.
It helps you meet the needs of your own self-fulfillment, giving you a higher purpose in life.
Learning critical thinking skills, how to adapt to different situations, work with others, and gives you emotional intelligence and resilience.
Studies show that individuals that have attended higher education courses tend to make healthier decisions in their lives.
Other studies have shown that those that have achieved a degree in higher education show more success in their careers. There are less unemployment and job loss.
There are plenty of reasons to obtain higher education from the institution of your choice. Not only are you studying a field that you want to pursue a career in, but you are also gaining relationships, networking, and meeting some of your most basic self-fulfillment needs.
So you’re looking at schools now that graduation is getting closer, and you have a list of universities for undergrad in mind. Universities are fantastic and absolutely a worthwhile investment. However, a four-year university is not the end-all answer when it comes to higher education. There are other options out there that are just as great, maybe even better than a four-year university. Let’s look at some of them!
A trade school is a great answer for anyone wanting to look into a very specific, niched-down career such as electrician, plumber, or nurse.
A community college is another option. Typically attendees of a community college come from the town, or outlying towns, it resides in. This is a great option to stay close to home, save money, and still obtain an education! Most community colleges will only have a 2-year associate’s option, however, some can partner with bigger universities nearby to give students the option of a bachelor’s degree.
Online school is also a great way to go through school. This can either be done through a typical university or community college, or through an online-only school.
You can also look into private schools for religion or military.
A university isn’t the only option! You don’t have to be attending Yale or Harvard to find success in your higher education studies.
Let’s talk about trade schools vs. universities. What are the differences and which one is better?
A school based around teaching just specific trades, such as nursing, electric work, plumbing, etc. A very niched program.
Typically less expensive Can be easier to get a job because internships happen in the field of work, putting you in direct contact with employers. Can be faster to graduate than the typical 4-year degree.
Your line of work is niched and can be hard to find an occupation outside of your line of study. Typically less social aspect than most universities.
A school where you receive an undergrad, graduate, or doctorate degree.
Your degree requires courses from a vast majority of subjects, giving you experience in many different areas. You have a broad sense of your area of study, which can open up job opportunities in various positions, not just one niched area. A big social aspect on a university campus.
Is hard to graduate early or faster because of credit requirements. Can be hard to choose your occupation because a degree can be so broad. You don’t walk away with a new set skill, you walk away with a degree.
So which one is better?
A university may be a great option for one person, while a trade school is the better route for someone else. Both types of schools come with pros and cons, even more than I’ve written here. A great way to decide which type of school is best for you is to reach out to trusted mentors or school counselors to help you make your final decision.
What type of school have you chosen to attend, trade school or university?