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The type of college students choose to attend often depends on personal experiences and interests.

The 4-year vs. 2-year college debate: Which is better?

Recently, a debate has begun as to whether a four-year college or a two-year trade school or technical education is superior. There are many compelling arguments for both sides, and there are advantages and disadvantages to whichever educational route students decide to pursue.

There are a variety of factors that play a role when prospective students are deciding what type of education is the best for them and their career goals. These factors include things such as location, campus size, cost, social experiences, diversity and opportunities offered.

Four-year colleges have a lot to offer when it comes to having collegiate experiences while getting your education.

There is an abundance of resources and opportunities for students to take advantage of at four-year colleges. Because they are larger and more recognized in comparison to two-year trade schools, tutoring, study abroad and scholarships are more readily available.

Also, most four-year colleges have clubs and organizations that can help improve networking and social skills and meet others who have similar interests as you, creating new collegiate and social experiences.

With four-year colleges, there is more variety when it comes to programs of study. For almost any career path you can think of, you can find a college that offers that program. The programs and curriculum are also more developed and polished, since they require more time to complete.

While the benefits are plentiful, four-year colleges have their drawbacks.

Undoubtedly the biggest downside to four-year colleges is the cost. Most colleges are very expensive, and students are forced to take out loans in most scenarios. These loans often take years to pay off, and the added interest over time does not help either.

Also, because of the large scale of universities, it is easy to become lost in the crowd and end up as only a number. There are so many different personalities, talents, cultures and levels of intelligence mixed together at universities, so you have to put in more effort in order to show your uniqueness.

So, two-year trade and technical colleges are another common route for students seeking post-secondary education.

The main thing with two-year college is that they are generally more affordable than four-year universities. This is beneficial because everyone wants to save as much money as possible, and nobody wants to spend years paying off student loans.

Also, the amount of time it takes to complete the program is only half of what it takes at a four-year college. Some students do not want to spend four years at college, so two-year colleges are an obvious option for them.

It is also worth mentioning that two-year colleges and trade schools can get you a high paying job, sometimes even higher than what you can get with a four-year degree.

A lot of students choose two-year colleges that are close to home. This is great for them since they will be getting their education and learning skills while also not having to experience homesickness and being comfortable with the location of the college.

According to Northeast High School College Advising, classes typically move at a slower pace  at two-year colleges as compared to a four-year college. This is good for students who struggle more with their studies in high school, but also good for those who simply move at a slower pace in general.

While two-year colleges may be less expensive and less time-consuming, there are some cons to them.

Two-year colleges don’t have the variety of programs that four-year colleges offer. While you can learn an array of different trades, four-year colleges generally have more programs for students to enroll in.

Also, you don’t get the sense of community and social networking you get when you go to a four-year college. While this may not be important to some, it is nice getting to work on your social skills while learning.

For more advanced students who like a good challenge and want to take the trade school route, two-year schools may not be a good option for them in terms of the academic regimen. Since the classes are usually more slow-paced, these students might find themselves bored and out of place at times.

In the end, both four-year colleges and two-year colleges have their advantages and disadvantages. Students should choose the educational route that is better fitted to their interests and needs, whether you want to go to a big-league university or a nice trade school close to home.

Written by Torrence Weaver, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of The Spectator.

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