Local community colleges are usually the least expensive way to get your college program started. In addition to charging low tuition, they are located in the area in which the student lives, which makes it possible to save by living at home and commuting to campus.
After completing as associate’s degree or certificate in a two-year college, students often can transfer to a four-year college and work toward a bachelor’s degree. If this route is chosen, courses taken at the two-year college should be those that count toward a bachelor’s degree. Certain community college courses may not be transferable to a four-year institution. Community college admissions officers can explain transfer terms and opportunities.
Some students choose to work part time and attend college part time. If this is your plan, make sure that work, classes, and time for studying do not conflict. Some institutions offer programs that enable students to combine work and classes. Although going to school part time is a good option for many students, it usually takes longer for part-time students to earn their degrees.
The armed forces is another option, offering educational programs during or after active duty. If you want to work toward a college degree immediately after high school, attending one of the military academies or attending a civilian school and enrolling in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program are options. If you want to join the armed forces before attending college full time, you can attend college after military service by taking advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill or by obtaining college credit for some of the military training you will receive.
In the ROTC scholarship program, the military covers most of the cost of tuition, fees, and textbooks and also provides a monthly allowance. Scholarship recipients participate in summer training while in college and fulfill a service commitment after college. The Montgomery GI bill provides financial support for people who wish to pursue a college education after serving in the military.
Most branches of the military offer some kind of tuition assistance program that enables members to take college courses at civilian colleges during their off-duty hours while on active duty. In addition, military training while on active duty can sometimes count toward college credit. All branches of the military offer training in various technical and vocational areas. Military enrollees can often obtain college credit for some of this training.
Local armed forces recruiting offices can provide detailed information about educational opportunities through the U.S. military.