Students composing a college list can find some great advice in the 1967 movie, The Graduate. That’s because it unwittingly provides a great college option for the college-bound today. Traditionally, students attend two-year or four-year colleges to earn their degree. The choice of an Applied Technology College offers a diploma blended with vocational training so graduates are ready to enter the job market with skills to immediately satisfy employers’ needs.
The movie insight was given by parent friend Mr. McGuire to diploma earning Benjamin. “Just one Word: Plastics…There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it.” Many parents and students are thinking about it today because finding well-paid employment upon graduation to afford a good lifestyle while paying off student loans is a big goal for them.
Combining the college experience to expand the mind with the technical skills ready to start a career is a good fit for many. Dr. Carolyn R. Strickland is vice president for enrollment management and associate provost at Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College). “We hear from our faculty that employers describe our graduates as the ‘gold-collar’ employees they are seeking. They say our graduates have the traditional technical skills of a blue-collar worker, as well as the management skills of a white-collar supervisor,” she explained.
Technology schools offer liberal arts courses along with majors in industrial, computing & engineering technologies, construction & design technologies, and transportation & natural resources technologies. While careers in plastics, polymers and welding may be some students’ objectives, other majors can educate future nurses, dental hygienists, physician assistants, occupational therapists, paralegals and web developers. Budding entrepreneurs in the hospitality and culinary arts fields, sustainability design and early childhood education also get their own hands-on experience while taking business classes.
When choosing schools for a college list, students should compare the perks and benefits of attending each type of college in relation to their career possibilities and interests. Some professions require a certificate, license, two-year, four-year or post-graduate degree. Families can set their student up for success by making sure the school offers the track the student is seeking. Note also the size of a department and the amount of money a college invests in it can strongly influence the employment path a majority of their students take.
Look at majors and course listings on college websites to learn about the professions they lead to. Find out about any unique programs and check out graduation and retention rates, student loan default rates and percentage of graduates finding jobs in their field soon after graduation.
Comparisons of technology colleges offer distinct challenges because there are fewer of them and the quality of programs and facilities widely differ. For example, similar programs may exist at Penn College, University of Wisconsin Stout, CUNY New York City College of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, and several schools in the SUNY system, including Farmingdale State College, SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill and the SUNY Colleges of Technology at Alfred, Canton and Utica-Rome but a college visit immediately highlights the differences such as quantity and quality of equipment and student lab time allotted.
Save the date for next week to read about how to visit a technology college. Get more information about what to expect during the college process by subscribing via the subscribe button to receive more college prep articles and visiting pocsmom.com. Please share your views in the comments section about what’s the right college for me, Mrs. Robinson?