Post High School Options
Your options for 4-year colleges are many, including private and public schools. These
types of schools offer bachelor’s degrees, which are usually completed in four years of full-
time study. Some 4-year colleges also have graduate schools that offer master’s and doctoral degrees.
These 2-year options can also be private or public schools. The most common types
of 2-year colleges are community colleges. Typically a 2-year college is less expensive
than a 4-year college. Two-year diplomas, certificates and degrees are offered through
these schools. Many students will begin at a 2-year college and then transfer to a 4-year
university to pursue an advanced degree.
Most technical colleges offer certificates, diplomas and associate degrees in many fields.
Your typical length at a technical college will depend on your program choice and if you
choose to be a full-time student. Most students attend technical colleges for two years. The
programs and degrees offered at a technical college are very specific and great options for
those students who want to enter the work force quickly.
The military offers many educational opportunities for students in return for their service
to their country. Once you have decided the military is something you may want to
pursue, you must meet all the requirements at the Military Entrance Processing Station.
Our counselors and the College and Career Center (CCC) can connect you with the
recruitment officers, who can ensure you meet all the necessary requirements before high
Students may choose to go directly into the work force after high school graduation. If
you know you would like to pursue a career that requires no further education, or have
been offered a job within a company that will provide you the training you need, this may
be an option for you. A meeting with your counselor will help you in planning, if this is
the route you wish to take.
When choosing to do a gap year, students should consider what they would be doing to
advance or enrich themselves both personally and professionally. Students can choose
from an array of opportunities, including things like – learning a trade, volunteer work,
travel, internships and sports. Gap year opportunities should assist in improving students’
knowledge, maturity, decision-making, leadership, independence and self-sufficiency.
Conducting a College Search
There are many factors to consider in the college search process:
• Location: Do I want to live at home? If not, how far away from home do I want to go?
• Size: Do I find a large school exciting – or frightening? Do I find a small school comfortable – or confining? Larger schools can usually provide a wider range of experiences. Smaller schools can usually provide more personal support.
• Programs: Am I looking for a wide-ranging liberal arts experience, or am I more
focused on a specific course of professional study? Does the school offer special
programs that interest me – honors, special seminars, internships, study abroad? Can
this school provide the academic experiences I’m looking for?
• Atmosphere: It is not just about academic studies – a great deal of the college
experience is what happens outside of the classroom. Some campuses are very social.
Some emphasize religion and morality. Some campuses are more politically active than
others and may be liberal or conservative. Some campuses emphasize sports and other
• Competitiveness: Students often ask “Can I get into [College X]?” This is the wrong
question. The correct question is “Would I be successful in [College X]?” People
respond differently to challenges. Do I want to start off as one of the smartest students
in my class? Do I rise to a challenge and seek to be surrounded by students who find
learning easier than I do? Do I do my best work when I start off near the middle of my
• Public or Private: Public schools tend to be larger and less expensive. Private schools
tend to be smaller, with smaller class sizes and more personal support. The expense
difference can become a complicated calculation, depending on individual family
• Admissions: Though not the most important factor, at some point a student needs to
be realistic about admission standards. Don’t give up on a school automatically because
you don’t think you will be admitted. If the school meets all your other criteria, but
you think you won’t be admitted, discuss it with your counselor.
Resources for Filing the FAFSA:
COLLEGE GOAL SUNDAY: Events in Minnesota to help fill out the FAFSA: Minnesota College Goal
QUESTIONS? CALL FAFSA: 1-800-433-3243
Raise.Me is a resource that helps students explore colleges, build a portfolio and get rewarded for their achievements both in and outside of the classroom. If a student follows a college and puts an accomplishment into their portfolio, the college may reward the student with a micro-scholarship that can build through the years. The students will only get the scholarship if they apply and are accepted to the college, however, it is fun to see students earn scholarships and see what colleges are looking for in admissions decisions. It is a great tool for students to set goals and stay motivated.
National Scholarship Search Tools
The following is a list of good websites to search for national scholarships. Consider an alternate email address to manage potential junk mail.
Mental Health Resources