Everest or Community College?

Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Allen B. Ury

Young Woman with QuestionAre you a high school senior? Do you have your high school diploma and now want more education to better your career prospects? If so, you may be trying to choose between a two-year community college and a private career training school like Everest. Both types of schools can help you qualify for promising careers. Both can help you get a diploma or degree faster and at less cost than most four-year colleges. And both can have easier entrance requirements than most public or private universities.

But community colleges and private career schools like Everest offer very different experiences.

When trying to choose between a community college or a career school like Everest, here are some factors to consider:

Programs. Many community colleges offer programs ranging from practical subjects like computer programming and carpentry to “softer” ones like art and drama. Career schools like Everest tend to offer only programs that offer knowledge and skills that can be applied directly to the workplace. What kind of educational environment will work best for you?

Student Body. By definition, most community colleges serve their communities at large. This means their student bodies often include:

  • Recent high school grads who are looking to earn an associate degree and then go directly into the workplace;
  • Other recent high school graduates who are planning to complete two years at the school before transferring to a traditional college or university;
  • Adults who have been out in the world a while and now want to earn a college degree;
  • Adults and retirees who simply want to take a course or two for “personal enrichment.”

By contrast, career schools like Everest tend to attract high school grads and young adults who are focused on career preparation and nothing more. Again, what kind of environment best suits your needs?

Graduation Requirements. To earn an associate degree, most community colleges require you to take some “general education” courses like English, math or history along with your “major.” At a career school like Everest, you’re only required to take courses that are directly relevant to the subject you are studying. Are you looking for a broader general education or one that is strictly career-focused?

Class Availability. Many community colleges now find themselves overcrowded and underfunded. As a result, it can be difficult to get the classes you need to graduate when you want to take them. By contrast, most career schools like Everest can adjust their class availability to meet student demand. How long can you comfortably wait to get your diploma or degree?

Class Schedules. If you already have a job, finding the classes you need during evenings and weekends can be difficult at a community college. On the other hand, career schools like Everest often have class schedules specifically designed to accommodate the needs of working adults or students with children. How flexible is your daily schedule?

Class Sizes. As noted above, many community colleges are now complaining of overcrowding. Classes can consist of dozens of students. Getting any kind of individualized attention can be all but impossible. Career schools like Everest tend to offer small classes that permit lots of student-instructor interaction and allow you to get the kind of individualized support you may need. Are you comfortable in a large class, or do you prefer a smaller, more intimate learning environment?

Hands-On Training. Most community colleges focus on traditional lectures and out-of-the-book learning. Being career-oriented, schools like Everest mostly focus on “hands-on” and interactive training that provide experience with the tools, equipment and applications professionals use in the workplace. Do you prefer to learn by reading or learn by doing?

Career Services. Some community colleges help their graduates look for employment and some do not. Even those that do are often overwhelmed by the number of graduates they produce every semester. Career schools like Everest usually have entire departments devoted to postgraduation career services. And because they have smaller classes, these schools can invest more time and energy to help individual students transition to the workplace. How important is Career Services support to you?

As a whole, community colleges do cost less than private career schools. (Community colleges are subsidized through state and local taxes.) But, as discussed above, the experience each type of school offers is also significantly different. As a student, it’s up to you to balance cost against the quality of the service provided.

For more information about programs, schedules and tuition costs at the Everest family of colleges, universities and institutes throughout the United States, contact Everest today!

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

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