“Well first you apply. Usually you decide where to apply based on your current grades in high school, what you want to major in, financial situation, and whether or not you want to live with your parents or go away and live on campus or near campus. After you apply they send you a confirmation of acceptance or a suggestion to apply elsewhere.
After you get accepted you can check out what classes are offered. Usually they'll give you a list of classes that are required for all students and a list of classes required for your major. I just took general classes my first couple years to allow me to decide fully what I wanted a degree in. Then some colleges will send a catalog type book with all the classes and class times in it. Some colleges have it posted on their webpage. Usually a class is at a specific time on Mon, Wed, Fri or a specific time on Tues, Thur BUT some college don't have Fri classes. I took classes on Tues, Thur so I could have the other 5 days off per week to work but you will need to decide what works best for you. If the school has MWF classes they're usually about an hour, while TuTh classes are around 90 minutes so if you can't sit still for long I suggest the shorter classes. The classes that are required for every student are usually offered at lots of times so you can schedule them late in the day if you're not a morning person or in the morning if you prefer to get done with classes early in the day. When you start taking classes specific to your major probably you won't have as much scheduling freedom. Pick your classes as soon as the college will allow you to. Some classes fill up pretty fast.
They will also tell you when Freshman Orientation is. It's usually a couple days or maybe a week before classes start. You definitely want to go to this because it will solve a lot of your confusion.
You will be assigned someone like a guidance counselor (from high school) once you get there. That person will make sure you're taking the right classes and on your way to your major. There should also be someone there to help you fill out financial aid paperwork. You will want to do this. The government awards a lot of people Pell Grants. Basically free money that you don't have to pay back. The government will also offer loans which you do have to pay back. You can accept either or both. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER borrow from the school itself. They will not give you your degree and let you graduate until you pay it all back, which could be anywhere from $10,000 up for all four years. My friend borrowed from her school for her first couple semesters. She then took a semester off. The school will not let her return to school nor will they transfer her credits to another school until she pays it off. She is stuck right now. If you need to borrow try a bank or family members but don't borrow from the school directly.
Sometimes the university bookstore will know what book you need for your class. They have a list. I suggest getting used books. I spent around $300 per semester on books and it will get higher when you start taking classes specific to your major. Should you have to get a new book they will probably be wrapped in plastic. NEVER open it until you are in class and your professor verifies it's the right book. Sometimes the bookstore list is wrong about the books you need. If the book is new and you unwrap it they will not take it back and you're screwed! At the end of the semester you can sell your books back to the bookstore. It's definitely worth it.
Most professors don't take attendance and don't care if you show for class. But you need to! Don't get in the habit of skipping classes. Professors grade differently. Several of my classes I had 2 grades the whole semester that were combined at the end to make up my semester grade. One grade was a mid-term test, the other was a final test. Some of my classes had a mid-term essay and a final. A couple of my classes had a quiz every other week along with mid-term and semester finals. Your tests will be made up questions based on the professor's lectures and any assigned textbook reading. So you need to go to class.
You will also pick a housing option and a meal option. You can a certain one-time price for a certain amount of meals per day each week. So maybe 2 meals per days 5 days per week or 2 meals per day 7 days per week. Just pick the one that fits how much you want to eat school food. If you choose to live off campus in a house with several roommates you'll have a kitchen so you can eat at home. Most dorms have a large common area for each floor or building. Some of them have cooking areas and others don't. If you're in the dorms you need a meal plan.”
The transition from high school to college can be a difficult one. Both your social and academic life will be remarkably different from high school. Below are ten of the most significant differences on the academic front:
Life without parents may sound exciting, but it can be a challenge. No one is going to nag you if you're messing up. No one is going to wake you up for class or make you do your homework (no one will wash your laundry or tell you to eat well either).
No Hand Holding
In high school, your teachers are likely to pull you aside if they think you are struggling. In college, your professors will expect you to initiate the conversation if you need help. Help is available, but it won't come to you. If you miss class, it's up to you to keep up with the work and get notes from a classmate. Your professor won't teach a class twice just because you missed it.
Less Time in Class
In high school, you spend most of your day in classes. In college, you will average about three hours of class time a day. Using all that unstructured time productively will be the key to success in college.
Different Attendance Policies
In high school, you are required to go to school everyday. In college, it's up to you to get to class. No one is going to hunt you down if you regularly sleep through your morning classes, but the absences could be disastrous for your grades.
Note Taking Challenges
In high school, your teachers often follow the book closely and write on the board everything that needs to go in your notes. In college, you'll need to take notes on reading assignments that are never discussed in class. You'll also need to take notes on what is said in class, not just what is written on the board. Often the content of classroom conversation is not in the book, but it may be on the exam.
Different Attitude Toward Homework
In high school, your teachers probably checked all your homework. In college, many professors won't check up on you to make sure you're doing the reading and learning the material. It's up to you to put in the effort needed to succeed.
More Study Time
You may spend less time in class than you did in high school, but you will need to spend far more time studying and doing homework. Most college classes require 2 - 3 hours of homework for every hour of class time. That means that a 15-hour class schedule has at least 30 hours of of out-of-class work each week.
Testing is usually less frequent in college than in high school, so a single exam may cover a couple months worth of material. Your college professors may very well test you on material from the assigned readings that was never discussed in class. If you miss a test in college you will probably get a "0" -- make-ups are rarely allowed. Tests will often ask you to apply what you have learned to new situations, not just regurgitate memorized information.
Your college professors are going to look for a higher level of critical and analytical thinking than most of your high school teachers did. You're not going to get an A for effort in college, nor will you usually get the opportunity to do extra credit work.
Different Grading Policies
College professors tend to base final grades largely on a couple big tests and papers. Effort by itself won't win you high grades -- it's the results of your effort that will be graded. If you have a bad test or paper grade in college, chances are you won't be allowed to redo the assignment or do extra credit work. Also, low grades in college can have serious consequences such as lost scholarships or even expulsion.
“Here in the U.S., the higher education institutions we have available are:
---2-year community colleges, with much smaller class size, 15-30 students per class, which have much less expensive tuition cost for fulfilling your first 2 years of basic academic prerequisites, such as College Algebra, College Biology 1 & 2 (Bio 111 & 112), College Chemistry 1 & 2 (Che 111 & 112), College Physics (Algebra- or Calculus-Based), English Composition 1 & 2 (which you must pass an assessment reading comprehension/writing exam first), Speech, Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Geography, or History). These are the prerequisites, transferable to most 4-year universities/colleges, for any majors. These 2-year institutions can offer an Associate's degree: A.S. (Associate of Science = more science & math requirement) and A.A. (Associate of Arts = a few less science & math for those who might be weaker in these areas). But an Associate's degree is not a requirement for admissions into 4-year schools. You can still do a certain number of classes and then transfer. Although the list given above are the general requirements acceptable to most 4-year schools, you still MUST contact the specific university you want to transfer to for a specific list of academic prerequisites for your particular major. Those lower-than-college-level prerequisites, such as Introduction to Biology (Bio 101), Introduction to Chemistry (Chem 101), Pre-Algebra (Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced), Conceptual Biology, Conceptual Chemistry, and/or Conceptual Physics credits are not transferable.
----4-year universities and/or colleges for the basic Bachelor's degree. B.S. (Bachelor of Science requires more science classes) and B.A. (Bachelor of Arts requires a couple of less science & math classes). However, a B.S. degree is more favorable for employment opportunities. These can be private or public institutions, general state universities, liberal arts or science/math specific. What is best for you depends on your goals and personality. Private colleges/universities have smaller classes (20-60 students per class). Public/state colleges can have 100+ students per class.
----Now, I don't know what aptitude tests are required for international students, but all schools, for U.S. students, require a college entrance exam, SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test), prior to admissions application. Eastern schools mostly require the SAT scores, whereas western schools just require the ACT scores. However, community colleges require their own assessment exams for those who have not taken the ACT or SAT. And once you get most of the first 2 years of prerequisites done, the transfer process would no longer require an ACT or SAT score.
----Graduate schools, required for fields such as Law, Medicine, or Pharmacy for the Master's and Doctorate's degrees. Given the labor field is requiring more degree graduates, with more and more college grads, you might want to consider pursuing degrees higher than the Bachelor's to get a higher salary. Most grad school programs require another entrance exam, such as the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test ) for Medical Schools, the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) for Law, the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test), and/or the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) for other subject areas of general graduate school requirement.
----Most schools operate on a "semester" schedule, which is usually a 15-16 week period of time per semester, and there are 2 semesters per school year, with a 4-week Winter Break, a 1-week Spring Break, and 2-3 months of Summer. All schools offer a Summer Semester as well, with less class-selections, and more accelerated academic curriculum, usually a 10-week or 12-week schedule. Some East Coast schools, such as New York or Massachusetts, operate on a "quarter" schedule, in which they can have the same length of class-time (but just calls it differently) or a more accelerated, shorter class-time, changing classes per quarters, such as Fall Quarter to Winter Quarter. The option of taking Summer Semester courses is to shorten the number of years for faster completion toward graduation.
----All schools count classes as "hourly credits." Whatever is the number of credits for a specific class, that is how many hours you actually spend in class. Math and science classes are usually 5-hour credits, and everything else is 3-hour credits. The maximum of credits you can take per semester is 18-hour curriculum, which is about 4-5 classes. Any additional credits, you would need approval from higher authority, such as the counselor and/or school dean. The requirement for 18+ credits is a 3.5 GPA (Grade Point Average). Some people do opt for taking 18+ credits for reasons of academic challenge as well as shorter school time to finish their degree. And the total number credits required for Bachelor's degree, for most majors, falls between 138-145 credits. Whereas, minors, depending upon your subject of interest, has a variable credit-requirement, ranging between 20-45 credit hours.
----All non-English speakers must also take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam.“
TYPES OF COLLEGE DEGREES
When you earn a bachelor's degree, it means you have passed examinations in a broad range of courses and have studied one or two subject areas in greater depth.
A graduate degree is usually earned through two or more years of advanced studies beyond four years of college.
CREDENTIALS YOU COULD EARN
- Certificate: Granted upon completion of a specific program; generally a trade or technical specialty. Usually requires fewer than 18 months of training. May or may not require a college degree.
- Professional license: Required for some career fields. May or may not require a college degree.
- Associate's degree: Awarded upon completion of a specific program; usually requires two years of full-time study and 60–70 credits.
- Bachelor's degree (baccalaureate degree): Granted upon completion of a specific program; usually requires four years of full-time study and 126–132 credits.
- Master's degree: Granted upon completion of a specific program; usually requires one to three years and approximately 30–40 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree.
- Doctoral degree: Awarded upon completion of a specialized program of study; usually requires three to five years beyond a bachelor's degree.
B.A. VERSUS B.S.
A Bachelor of Arts is the traditional liberal arts degree that exposes you to a wide variety of disciplines — literature, history, social sciences, and laboratory sciences — before requiring you to specialize by selecting a major.
Studying for a B.A. degree doesn't mean you're stuck majoring in the humanities. You can get your B.A. in laboratory sciences like physics, chemistry, and biology. The "Arts" refers to the fact that you have studied a broad range of disciplines, not to the subject that you studied.
The Bachelor of Science degree, on the other hand, leaves little room for courses outside your major. You usually select your major before entering the program or, in some cases, after your first year.
As with the B.A. degree, the name of the B.S. degree refers to how much time you focused on your major area of study, not its content. This means you can get your B.S. in disciplines such as journalism, economics, linguistics, and international relations.
Learn The Different Levels of College Degrees
If you’re one of millions of Americans considering going back to school (or if you’re going to school for the first time) you face not only an exciting decision, but a daunting one as well. There are hundreds of degrees and fields out there, and trying to decide on one can be confusing, to say the least. We’ve put together a guide to the different types of college degrees and what they mean, but before you get started, here are a few things to think about:
Type of College Degrees: Frequently Asked Questions
- What level of degree do you need? Make sure a given college degree program is tied to a specific career goal. For example, if you want to become a public school teacher, you need a teaching certificate.
- Do you meet the program’s prerequisites? Many types of degree programs, especially the more advanced ones, require you to hold previous degrees or qualifications. No matter how nicely you ask, an MSN program will not admit you unless you have a practical nursing degree.
- Once you find a degree program, make sure you have thought about how to fit your new educational commitment into your life. College is a substantial time commitment, and it can be expensive as well. This is not to say you shouldn’t do it; for millions of Americans, education is a liberating-and financially rewarding-experience. Just make sure you have a plan.
Without further ado, here’s our comprehensive guide to the various types of college degrees.
High School Diploma
The High School Diploma is the foundational type of degree in the American educational system: you will need to have one in order to enroll in nearly any postsecondary educational program. If you are still in high school, you must finish this degree to move on. If you didn’t graduate from high school, don’t give up. Almost all employers and schools consider the GED an acceptable substitute for a high school diploma.
Many schools, both online and at ground campuses, offer affordable GED programs-so you don’t really have any excuse. If you didn’t finish high school, go get your GED!
Certificates, Certifications, Diplomas
These often involve certification in a particular field or area, in anything from Medical assisting to Paralegal Studies. Furthermore, there are many certifications for particular technologies, such as web developer or repair technician. These kinds of degrees tend to be relatively quick; they typically take from about six weeks to a year to complete.
Types of Undergraduate Degrees
This is the basic, two year type of college degree. It is often awarded at community colleges, as well as many distance learning programs. There are many different versions of this degree which signify the subject of study, from the AAS (Associate in Applied Science) to AFA (Associate in Fine Arts).
In some fields, such as medical assisting, Associate’s degrees may demonstrate the necessary expertise to qualify graduates for immediate employment in a designated profession. In other fields, such as business administration, Associate’s degrees often involve a set of basic preparatory coursework, equivalent to the first two years of a Bachelor’s program.
This is the standard terminal four-year college degree. It is offered, often in hundreds of subjects, at full-service campus universities and also online through hundreds of schools. Bachelor’s degrees are prerequisites for all graduate programs.
Nursing Degree Levels
This is the most basic nursing degree. As such, it is also the quickest course to complete: students can graduate in as little as six-weeks, and it is even offered at some high schools. In the workplace, CNAs usually work under the supervision of their nursing colleagues: LPNs and RNs.
This is the basic practical nursing degree. While LPN/LVN programs involve one-year of study, prerequisites can often stretch the program into a second year. These degrees signify a significant increase in skills and responsibility over the CNA degree, and usually entail an increase in pay as well.LPNs must attend an accredited nursing school and, due to the “hands-on” nature of this training, most such programs are usually offered at ground campuses.
ASN-Associate of Science in Nursing/ AND-Associate Degree in Nursing BSN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
These two degrees account for the vast majority of RNs in American healthcare. Involving either a two- (ASN/AND) or four-year course of study, these degrees involve training in many of the more complex responsibilities of the nursing profession. Again, these programs are usually campus-based, but students already possessing an associates degree or practical degree as well as an RN can complete an RN-BSN program online.
While not technically a college degree, the RN credential is a commonly-held qualification at thousands of hospitals, and a necessary prerequisite to graduate nursing degrees. RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN examination, which is required by all US states and territories. Again, in order to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, either an ASN/ADN or BSN is required.
Graduate work in Nursing requires at least a Bachelor’s degree, and specifically the BSN degree. MSN degrees can involve many different specializations, from Nurse Practitioner to Nurse Administrator. Unlike many other nursing degrees, Master’s degrees are often offered online.
Graduate Degree Types
(*These degrees require AT LEAST a Bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite.)
This is the standard graduate-level degree. It usually consists of a full-time two-year program of study, but both part-time and accelerated programs are common, meaning Master’s degrees can take as little as nine months or as much as three or four years, depending on the volume of coursework.
Because Master’s degrees are offered in hundreds of different fields, their status varies widely in the workplace: for example, Physician’s Assistants must obtain a terminal Master’s degree in order to practice medicine, whereas in many other disciplines, especially in the Arts and Sciences, a Master’s degree involves continued training in research, perhaps in preparation for further graduate study at the PhD level.
By far the most common graduate degree in business, MBAs come in many shapes and sizes. Most students enroll in general MBAs, although many specializations, such as marketing, accounting, or even non-profit management, are common as well.
MBA degree programs are offered both online and on-campus, full-time and part-time, and in standard (two-year) and accelerated (nine months) timeframes. Executive MBA programs are a special kind of course usually taken by professionals with as many as ten years of business experience, with a special focus on high-level leadership. For more information, see our MBA degree guide.
This is the highest degree attainable in most university departments. It is most commonly associated with scientists and professors. Its cost, duration, and length differ by field, but completion usually takes anywhere from five to ten years. Graduate students studying for the PHd are called doctoral candidates, and some universities offer them the chance to teach undergraduates or assist in faculty research while they study, receiving tuition remission and a stipend in exchange.
This college degree is held by many education administrators, principals, and education school professors.
Whereas the training received by primary-secondary school teachers usually emphasizes curriculum and pedagogy, education doctorates are more commonly focused on administration and educational theory.
MD-Doctor of Medicine.
This is the standard degree held by all physicians. It typically requires four years of coursework, after which an MD is obtained, but practicing doctors must then follow this with an internship and then residency, each offering hands-on medical training at a working hospital. These latter two phases can take anywhere from 3 to 8 years or more, depending on a doctor’s particular specialties.
JD-Doctor of Jurisprudence.
This is the degree received by students following successful completion of a three-year course of study at law school. Along with the Bar exams offered by individual states, it is one of the two credentials possessed by most practicing lawyers.
What’s Your Footpath?
Deciding on a degree program level can be tricky, but it is by no means impossible. If you take care of the necessary preparation-nailing down your interests and goals, doing your research, and making a workable plan-you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.
Finally, if you still have questions about the type of degree that’s right for you, feel free to give us a call here at myFootpath. Our educational advisors offer free advice on all your education decisions.
Undergraduate refers to work before you get your bachelors degree (BA, BE, BS, etc.). Graduate refers to work following that degree (MBA, MS, etc.)
Post graduate is the name given to students who have completed their first degrees and are studying for a higher qualification.
A postgraduate in education means beyond the first degree level. Postgraduates are a higher qualification after first degrees, such as masters and PhDs. It may also refer to a student who peruses such studies.
“After one completes 4 years of college, one is considered a 'graduate.' Postgraduate work is any academic study begun after graduation. It is a general term.
The first postgraduate degree is a masters degree. After a masters degree, you can work toward a PhD, which is called a doctorate degree. You can also do post doctorate work, which is academic study after you received your PhD.
As to the visas, you would probably get accurate information if you contact your local US Consulate.”
“an undergraduate is a student who is taking the basic education & training for whatever major your in. in other words the first 4 years of school. a undergraduate can get a bachelor's degree, while a graduate student takes at least another 2 years & earning a master's degree.
a minor is similar to a major but a lot smaller. for example, i'm majoring in business with a minor in industrial engineering. this means that i concentrate mainly in business but i also have minor experience & knowledge in engineering. gettig a minor is useful b/c it makes you more qualified than someone wih only one major. the bad about gettig a minor is you'll of course have a little more work & classes than a student with only one major, but if you're up for it it's very rewarding.”