There are more than 3,500 colleges and universities in the U.S. offering private and public educations. The advantages of four-year colleges are the resources that they have and the size and breadth of the faculty. Four-year colleges are more competitive to gain admission into than community colleges and are often more expensive. However, you cannot beat a four-year college or university for the range of courses, degrees and learning opportunities.
Many four-year colleges and universities have established continuing education or extension programs just for adults. These are typically held in the evenings and are usually open enrollment, which means that you don't need to go through a selective admission process to get into the program. Best of all you can earn complete degrees and graduate certificates without having to become a full-time student. Most of the faculty is also the same that teach during the day at the college or university.
Distance learning programs offer the same type of certificates and degrees as traditional colleges. The big difference is that you take courses from the comfort of your home. Many are online only, where you have "discussions" with your professor and classmates on the Internet. Other programs combine online learning with in-person learning. An advantage of distance learning is flexibility. You don't need to commute to classes, and you can participate in class discussions and complete assignments on your own time. Disadvantages of distance learning are that you may not have the face-to-face interaction that you do in a regular classroom setting. Plus, it takes a huge amount of self-discipline to complete a distance-learning program.
The great news is that there are many options for adult students. If you spend a little time to research these, you'll find the right program for your personal and professional goals.
Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.
By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Learn how to go back to school without going broke. This is the only book that shows you how to find the best scholarships for adult students, get your employer to pay, have your student loans forgiven and much more.