Life is full of tough decisions

This is a life-altering decision that will be the foundation of your career path. Not everyone is cut out for traditional college life. While the education you get at those institutions is very valuable, it may not be what you need.

To help you answer this question, just continue to read our article. It has the key elements you need to consider before you make this important decision. Reading this article only takes a few minutes of your time while traditional college takes years if that’s your choice. Invest a bit of time now before taking this big step.

They are all fine institutions

That is what makes this decision so difficult. At traditional colleges, you get to meet a lot of interesting people, intellectually interact with them on a wide variety of topics as well as learn from very well-educated professors.

But there is no one size fits all. Traditional colleges provide you with a lot of abstract information but they do not focus on those trades that you may be more interested in. Trade schools are also fine institutions as they employ professors skilled in those trades and teach you all about those industries you are interested in. The teachers normally have excelled at their trade and now want to show their extensive knowledge in their later years.

You just may not fit in at a traditional college and trade school may be just the ticket for you.

Make the comparison to help you decide.

There are important elements you should compare before deciding which educational path you will take. Here are some key elements you should really ponder.

#1. The purpose of going to college or a trade school

It is said that 30% of traditional college students attend college because they were taught it was the next educational step after high school. Another 23% went because they were expected to go by parents or other authority figures in their lives.

But if the college doesn’t teach what you want to do with your life, then you should look at a good trade school. You get the training you want in the industry you want to work in. Your true purpose will make the decision a lot easier.

Traditional colleges are best if your proposed career path requires a bachelor’s degree or higher.

#2. Look at yourself and your skills

Traditional colleges tend to focus more on the intellectual side of life and business opportunities. But if you are not good at taking tests and studying and prefer working with your hands, then you should choose to go to a trade school. The latter institution helps you develop those hands-on skills you need for your future employment.

If you are handy and like working on DIY projects you might gravitate towards the trades, or if you like more cerebral tasks college might be the better fit. Most people will have both of these characteristics making a clear choice not so easy. This is why you should take your time and speak with others who have more experience and contemplate things.

#3. Career opportunities

This is an important element simply because the business world is changing. Many of the careers that were around when your parents or grandparents were young are not conducted in the same way. You have to prepare yourself for the career you want and to meet these changes.

A good trade school helps you keep up with the times while making you a valuable asset to society. A good traditional college will do the same but at a different level and in different fields. Your interests will influence your decision.

There are also changes to the economy of Long Island right now that will affect your career path. For example, the COVID 19 restrictions are changing the way business is done. The restaurant industry is being hurt leading that sector to hire fewer managers and other staff.

#4. Length of attendance

This is one of the biggest factors that will help determine your decision. Traditional colleges usually have 4-year programs. That is a long-term commitment to schooling. Then with the stiff competition, you will face all the other traditional school graduates, and getting that perfect job may be difficult.

On the other hand, trade schools usually have shorter educational programs and you can enter your field of choice within 18 months to 2 years. The level of competition should be lower as you have greater hands-on skills and will be more valuable to a prospective employer.


#5. Tuition

One of the biggest influences on your decision to attend a traditional college or a trade school is tuition fees. Traditional colleges are not cheap and the yearly tuition costs are not the only expenses you will face.

There are registration fees, diploma fees, textbook fees, and a lot of other fees you may not have factored in your calculations. Trade schools offer lower tuition and lower misc., fees. Often they include your textbook costs in your tuition cost.

You can get a student loan to cover both educational expenses but paying off the loan for a traditional college will take a lot longer than a trade school loan due to its much higher cost.

#6. Location of the schools

Yes, you can go to a local traditional college or community college to save on expenses, but those local institutions may not have the quality of education you want to receive nor will they all offer the same subjects you want to study. Here’s a quick list of the locations of Long Island’s Higher Education.

This means you will have to factor in moving costs, phone bills, and other expenses into your overall cost of going to a traditional school away from home. Trade schools not only offer the subjects you want but you can stay in your local community or at home while you study.

Those extra costs are never a factor with trade schools and you have a better chance of graduating debt-free than by going to a traditional college.

Where should you attend?

That is a decision you either make on your own or with the help of your parents or other mentors. You need to look at all the facts honestly before making any decision. On top of that, you need to take an honest look at yourself and see if you are cut out for one or the other.

One good way to decide is to take a year at a traditional college to see if it is for you. If it isn’t you can always go to a trade school and still graduate before your college class does.

Your parents may want you to go to a traditional college and that decision may be more for them than for you. You will need a little courage to ignore those wishes and tell them you decided on a trade school if that’s the right fit for you at the end of your analysis.

In the end, you have to live with your decision.


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