College Discovery

What is College?

There are many options and education pathways for Indiana students after high school such as apprenticeships, associate degrees, trade programs, bachelor’s degrees or an advanced degree. College isn’t just about earning a four-year degree on campus. Indiana’s institutions provide education opportunities that meet the needs of all people at all stages of their lives including short-term, online and part-time options.

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Why should you go to college?

There are many reasons why someone may want to go to college. Aside from the valuable life experiences you’ll have living on your own, managing your finances and setting your own schedule, you’ll also be establishing the groundwork for a successful career that pays dividends down the line.

Degree Options

Does your dream job require an apprenticeship, associate degree, trade program, bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree?

Even if you’ve decided on your ideal career, there’s still so much to plan for. Colleges have different types of degrees and lots of paths to success.

See below for descriptions of the most common degree types.

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Apprenticeships are a great way to learn the skills required for specific occupations, like electricians, carpenters or roofers. These apprenticeships typically come with a wage, and some even allow you to earn an associate degree simultaneously. Apprenticeships vary in length, but typically last between 2 and 5 years.

Workforce certificates can be earned by completing the requirements of an association for a particular trade, such as plumbing, security or certain types of computer technology. Often a certification takes only one year to complete if you go to school full time. Sometimes, a certificate is earned as part of an apprenticeship. With help from the Workforce Ready Grant, you can potentially get a workforce certificate for free.

Associate degrees typically take two years to complete if you go to school full time. An associate degree can open the door to a wide variety of careers, ranging from business and biotechnology to education and engineering.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees are granted to students who complete two-year programs of study. Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees are awarded to students who complete two-year technical or vocational programs, designed to train students with the skills they need for specific careers like computer information systems or fashion studies. These programs often require an internship.

Bachelor’s degrees generally take four years to complete if you go to school full time. B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degrees are often found in the liberal arts. They generally require courses in humanities, math, English, sciences, social sciences and language. B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degrees prepare people for careers in areas such as accounting, engineering and education. Like the B.A., the B.S. degrees require general courses in math, English, sciences and social sciences, but usually fewer courses in the humanities.

Master’s degrees take your education to a higher level than a traditional degree. Participation in a master’s degree follows your bachelor’s degree and usually requires two extra years of full-time study with more tests and classes. For some fields, like law, a master’s degree is a professional degree that you need to enter into the industry. Most graduates with professional degrees are able to enter the workforce equipped with the knowledge necessary for the industry they’ll be working in.

The time to earn a doctorate degree varies greatly by program and by the student’s motivation. Most doctorate students begin by taking classes, and end their studies by writing a dissertation or participating in a residency program. Many fields, such as history or English, require a dissertation – lengthy, original research, kind of like a book, that defends a student’s stance on a given subject and usually takes two or more years to complete. A residency allows a student to practice their skills in a controlled setting. For example, residencies for medical doctors are three or more years and take place in a hospital.

Military degrees allow you to serve your country while taking your education to the next level. Some programs allow you to enroll in a traditional college (with paid tuition) while others take place at military-only institutions. If you’re in the military, speak to your superiors about your options.
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Which college should I attend?

Choosing the right college for you is important. Considerations like cost, size, culture, degree programs, extracurricular activities and sports all factor into this decision. Visit our “How To Choose A College” page for more resources on picking the right school for you!

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