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Finding Your Path To Higher Education

Higher education is a goal for many people around the world; however, attending a traditional 4 year institution is not an option for everyone. This article will delve into some of the options for students who are not able to to go to a 4-year institution.

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Community College

Community colleges are distinguishing themselves from four-year institutions by offering alternatives to a bachelor's degree. Community colleges provide access to higher education for those who are unable to attend a four-year institution. Community colleges have expanded the programs they offer to allow more opportunities to students. According to George Boggs (2011) "the wide array of course and program options, the significantly lower cost of tuition, and the proximity of the colleges to home or work make them a more convenient and affordable option for close to 12 million students—and nearly half of all undergraduates earning college credit" (p. 3). Community colleges are able to have lower tuition costs because of the cost-of-operation being less than a four-year institution. Community colleges typically have smaller class sizes with professors that hold at least a masters degree in their field of study. If a four-year institution is not the right fit for you then explore the option of community college.

Online Learning

Anita Crawley (2012) stated that the first online course was targeted to students who could not otherwise continue their education. Online education has become popular for students seeking higher education. Many students at four-year institutions take at least one online course during their college career. Online courses allow the student to learn and do their work on their own time. Online learning has allowed adult learners a way to go to college while having full-time jobs, raising families, and cannot attend traditional courses. Fredric Jacobs (2010) state that adult learners need a way to engage in online courses. Many online courses utilize discussion boards to allow students in the class to engage with other students to allow more views on the subject. While online learning is not for everyone, it is a great option for higher education.

New paths are emerging.

Clifton Conrad and Marybeth Gasman (2015) stated that higher education institutions are constantly striving to provide their students with better ways to learn. Higher education institutions are aware of the diverse types of students that attend their institutions and work towards providing every student with the best college experience. Whether a four-year institution, a community college, online learning, or another path is right for you, continuing your education is something you will not regret.


Conrad, C., & Gasman, M. (2015). Educating a diverse nation: Lessons from minority-serving institutions. Cambridge, MA: HARVARD UNIV Press.

Crawley, A. (2012). Supporting online students: a practical guide to planning, implementing, and evaluating services. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Boggs, G. R. (2011). The American community college: From access to success. About Campus, 16(2), 2-10. doi:10.1002/abc.20055

Jacobs, F., & Hundley, S. P. (2010). Understanding and supporting adult learners: a guide for colleges and universities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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