There are many different types of college programs available these days for people wanting to further their education, or get a degree. However, we all learn differently and modern education systems are increasingly evolving to accommodate this. Gone are the days when you simply attended your closest college or university and accepted the way they taught because you didn’t know any better. Today, finding an education provider that suits your requirements, and can provide the right learning environment, is not just a reasonable expectation. It’s also becoming increasingly standard procedure. However, it can be difficult finding exactly the right one.
The most common types of learning environment for students seeking a college level eduction are community colleges, universities, or online and distance learning. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.
Community colleges are great for students who learn best in small classes, small classrooms, and a discussion-oriented style of teaching. In contrast, universities are large informal places where the typical style of learning is through lectures in large lecture halls to large classes. There’s very little opportunity for the type of close knit discussion groups that community colleges provide. If you learn best sitting in a large auditorium with dozens of other students, madly taking notes whilst a professor lectures at the front of the hall, then university is for you. Distance and online learning are great but they do require a certain amount of self-discipline.
When you’re looking around for the right type of tertiary education, factor in not only your personal learning style but also the type of learning experience you want. What type of learning environment do you feel most comfortable in. How do you learn best? How much time can you devote to your education – are you also holding down a job, looking after a family, and so on. For some people, the impersonality of university can be off putting, whilst others like the anonymity it can provide. Others prefer to study online because it gives them the flexibility of choosing when and where they study. This doesn’t suit everyone though – if you’re easily distracted, have trouble finding motivation to do things when you’re on your on schedule, or don’t cope with the isolation, then online learning probably isn’t going to work for you.
Universities are great places for cultural opportunities; community colleges and online learning generally aren’t. Some students revel in these types of opportunities and treat them as part of their total learning experience. They’ll meet students from other countries; get to experience different cultures, art, music, and history. Others find this type of thing distracting. So figure out which type of student you are, and select your tertiary education provider accordingly.
If you have special needs, that’s another consideration you’ll need to factor in when looking at where you’re going to study. Most facilities are required to have disability access like ramps and so on for wheelchairs. However, universities are quite often spread out over large areas and if you have mobility issues, this can pose a problem. Especially if you have to get from one side of campus to the other in a hurry. Community colleges have smaller campuses, which may be more practical for someone with a physical disability. Online study obviously can be done wherever you have a computer and access to the Internet, which for most of us is at home.
If online study is your preference, one career you may want to consider is the fire services. Most states have fire colleges but in many cases, you’ll also find authorized online versions of their courses available. Completing Fire Officer 1 online training for example is a popular alternative to attending a fire college to do the same courses.