Today students are faced with a job market in which skills and training beyond high school are a necessity rather than a luxury. The American Association of Community Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities describe education as the “new currency” - securing better futures for all. In our knowledge-based economy, higher levels of education boost lifetime earnings.
Studies have shown that benefits, beyond financial, to furthering education include an increased ability to think critically and analytically, express oneself more clearly orally and in writing, analyze and compute more effectively, and make knowledgeable and sound decisions. Also, greater job opportunities in a rapidly changing world are available to college graduates. It is projected that the jobs we know today will be non-existent ten years from now and that jobs of the future will be far more dependent on brain power than muscle power, making education beyond high school more crucial. According to the College Board, the investment for the typical student pays off very well over the course of a lifetime — even considering the expense of higher education. Perhaps even more importantly, increased earnings are by no means the only positive outcome of higher education. The knowledge, fulfillment, self-awareness, and broadening of horizons associated with education transform the lives of students and of those with whom they live and work.
Interested in learning more about trends in higher education? Reliable and comprehensive data from the CollegeBoard is provided for educators, policymakers and interested individuals for the purpose of shedding light on the current state of college prices and student financial aid, and how it changes from year to year.
College refers to the many different educational institutions students attend beyond high school. These institutions are also frequently referred to as postsecondary institutions. College can be in the form of vocational training, community or junior college, and four-year colleges and universities which lead to either certification or a degree (associate, bachelors, etc.)
In the United States alone, there are over 6,000 different postsecondary institutions offering a variety of programs and degrees. They are categorized in the following way:
Certificate or License - awarded upon completion of a specific short-term course of study
Associate Degree (Associate of Art, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science) - Degree awarded after the completion of defined coursework. These programs generally encompass two years of full-time study or about 60 credits.
Bachelor's Degree (Bachelor of Art, Bachelor of Science) - programs of study with a concentration in the arts or the sciences. This degree is awarded upon completion of four years of full-time study or the length of time needed to earn 120 credits.
Master's Degree - an advanced degree awarded beyond the bachelor's degree. The length of time necessary to complete the requirements of this degree depends upon the course of study and whether the student attends on a full-time or part-time basis. Credit requirements can vary from 36 to 60 depending on the field of study. Common abbreviations for this degree include: MA (Master of Arts), MS (Master of Science), MBA (Master of Business Administration), ME (Master of Engineering), MSW (Master of Social Work) and MED (Master of Education), to name a few.
Doctoral Degree - awarded for advanced and intensive study in a particular field. Common abbreviations include: MD (Medical Doctor), Pharm.D (Doctor of Pharmacy), PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery), and Ed.D (Doctor of Education), to name a few.
There is no doubt that the use of the internet has revolutionized the college application process. But with so many options, how can parents and students find the most appropriate information? The college counselors at The NHHEAF Network Organizations Center for College Planning have created a “best of the web” list to help guide families. Here you'll find many helpful sites with FREE resources. However, recognize that many sites charge a fee for their services or guarantee results. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.