Post Secondary Options
More and more students are enrolling in community colleges across the nation, even as media attention focuses on the most selective four-year colleges. Why are students choosing community colleges, and should you consider a community college as a part of your college search?
The Economic Option
One reason for the growing popularity of community colleges is their relatively low tuition. Overall, the average cost of public community colleges is less than half the cost of public four-year colleges and about one-tenth the cost of private four-year colleges. As a result, students who spend two years at a community college and then transfer to a four-year college spend less money for the same bachelor's degree as their classmates.
The Associate's Degree Option
The two-year associate's degree is a goal itself for many community college students. Community colleges offer a wide variety of programs that train students to work in specialized fields, such as dental hygiene, computer technology, nursing, and culinary arts.
The Transfer Option
For students who want the four-year degree, community colleges work with four-year colleges to make sure those students can make a smooth transfer. Most community colleges maintain transfer or "articulation agreements” with a number of four-year colleges. These agreements map out exactly which community college courses will transfer to a specific four-year college. They may even guarantee admission as a junior to students who fulfill certain course work and grade requirements. For more information on whether the community college you're considering has articulation agreements with the four-year colleges that interest you, talk to an academic advisor at the community college. Some students even use their two years at community college to improve their chances of getting into a more selective four-year college.
The Flexible Option
Most community colleges cater to students of all ages and backgrounds. As a result, you'll often find more options in class scheduling, including evening and weekend classes. Distance learning is also one of the strengths of community colleges, with a variety of courses offered online, by correspondence or by other alternative methods.
An Option for You?
Community colleges can have some drawbacks for students who want the residential college experience. The majority of community colleges do not offer dorms (although 53 you can find some that do), and many community college students have full-time work or family obligations. As a result, you may not find the same breadth or depth of social options and extracurricular activities that you would at a traditional four-year residential college. On the other hand, community colleges often provide a more supportive learning environment, with smaller class sizes and an emphasis on academic and career counseling, than do larger universities.
As with all college decisions, make sure to research the specific community colleges that interest you. Like their four-year counterparts, each community college is unique, and you must decide for yourself which colleges may be right for you.
- Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges
- Central Massachusettes 30K Commitment
- Mass Transfer
- Partnership Between Framingham State University & Mass Bay Community College
Massachusetts has 15 Community Colleges, each with multiple campuses and satellite locations that offer unique opportunities for the local communities they are a part of. Each college provides open access to high quality and affordable academic programs.
Learn more at masscc.org.
Some of the Massachusetts public community colleges and four-year institutions have teamed up to ensure your associate’s and bachelor's degrees will cost you $30,000 total, and in some cases even less! You can lock in the cost of your associate’s and bachelor’s degrees at $30,000 total, and get the education and training you need for a high-demand career, through the $30K Commitment. The versatility of Central Massachusetts’ public higher education institutions gives students a range of affordable options. Earn 2 degrees in 4 years by starting your educational path at Mount Wachusett Community College or Quinsigamond Community College, earning an associate’s degree, and transferring to Fitchburg State University or Worcester State University.
Learn more at mass.edu/gohigher/admissions/under30k.asp.
MassTransfer makes it easy for students to transfer from one Massachusetts public higher education institution to another. It is a way for community college students who complete an associate’s degree to enroll in linked programs with the full transfer of credit, guaranteed admission and a tuition discount. It also provides any student who completes the MassTransfer Block with the benefit of satisfying the general education/distribution/core requirements at any other public higher education institution in the Commonwealth.
Learn more at mass.edu/masstransfer/home.asp.
Learn more about these and other opportunities at massbay.edu/academics/partnerfsu.
● FSUatMassBay - Through FSUatMassBay, MassBay students can complete a bachelor’s degree — right on MassBay’s Wellesley Hills campus. Eligible students, who enroll at MassBay in liberal arts or business administration programs and earn their associate’s degree, can follow a pathway to earn bachelor’s degrees in liberal studies or management from Framingham State University.
● Dormitory Housing & Residential Life - For students interested in living on campus, Framingham State University offers full-time MassBay students the next best thing: the unique opportunity to live on FSU’s campus, while attending classes at MassBay. Located just miles from MassBay’s Framingham, Ashland, and Wellesley Hills campuses, Framingham State’s partnership gives MassBay students the experience of living in a dorm on a college campus. MassBay students live together in the same dorm as a cohort.
Considering A Year Off (aka Gap Year)
Many students choose other options besides entering college the September following high school graduation and find it a valuable and rewarding experience. While this option may be considered and researched throughout senior year of high school, it is strongly recommended that you do not use this strategy in isolation. Taking time off requires careful consideration and discussion with family members. It is strongly recommended that students considering a “year off” still pursue the college exploration and application process during senior year. This ensures that you will have options in March, April and May available if you have a change of heart. Additionally, many colleges will allow students to defer their acceptance until the following September, enabling the student to take time to pursue other interests and experiences for a year, returning to college the next September.
Consider a year off if:
● You have an opportunity to travel or work in a new environment
● You have a special interest or passion you wish to pursue outside of college
● You want to strengthen your academic profile
● You need a break from school and need to do something different
There are endless possibilities and resources available to those considering a year off experience. If a student wishes to travel there are dozens of exchange programs. For a community service experience contact City Year, AmeriCorps, or SCA (Student Conservation Association.) Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School offer high quality programs to build self-esteem, self-reliance and leadership skills. Visions International offers opportunities in cross-cultural living and outdoor exploration, while programs like ITHAKA Cultural Study Programs in Greece allow a student to live with a Greek family, learn the language, study the history and work on an active archeological project. Time Out Associates in Milton is another resource worth consulting for some targeted information on programs and year-off opportunities.
A student looking to strengthen their academic profile might consider a post-graduate year experience at one of the many fine independent schools in our nation such as Andover, Choate, Exeter or Taft. Others might consider attending the American School in Switzerland or Paris. A student can spend a year in a British boarding school by contacting the British American Education Foundation or spend a semester in Scotland attending the University of St. Andrews.
The following listing provides some information for some of the interim year programs that exist:
- A.F.S. Intercultural Programs
- Apprenticeship Programs
- City Year
- The Dynamy Internship Year
- Education First
- EF Gap Year
- Habitat for Humanity
- National Outdoor Leadership School
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Outward Bound
- Peace Corp
- The Samaritans
- School for International Training
- AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America)
This global not-for-profit Network provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. 800-AFS-INFO afs.org
The mission of Americorps is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. You can choose the opportunity that aligns with your passions. 800-942-2677 americorps.gov
This program was founded to unite young adults from diverse backgrounds for a year of service. It helps young people develop into leaders, problem solvers and more active citizens. Members will receive benefits including a bi-weekly stipend, access to scholarships and an educational award. 617-927-2500 cityyear.org
DIY is a domestic gap-year program providing students ages 17-22 with meaningful opportunities to gain real-world experience, explore career interests, and build critical life skills before taking life’s next steps. 508-796-0190 27 Sever Street, Worcester, MA 01609 dynamy.org
This international environmental nonprofit organization connects people with scientists worldwide to conduct environmental research and empowers them with the knowledge they need to conserve the planet. 800-776-0188, 300 Washington St., Suite 713, Newton, MA 02458 earthwatch.org
These international programs allow students 18-22 to travel the world and gain valuable life skills. This innovative experiential learning model helps students discover their goals and gain confidence. efgapyear.com
For students interested in helping families and communities who are building and improving places to live, Habitat for Humanity offers multiple gap year opportunities. habitat.org/stories/is-a-gap-year-right-for-you
Put out by the US Department of Labor, this website lists career information which includes; nature of the work, working conditions, employment, training, job outlook, earnings, related occupations and sources of additional information. bls.gov/ooh
Outward Bound’s mission is to change lives through challenge and discovery. It is predicated on the belief that we seek, embrace, and value adventure and the lifelong adventure of learning. 866-467-7651 outwardbound.org
Volunteers live and work side by side with community members in more than 60 countries on locally prioritized projects, building relationships, exchanging cultures and knowledge, and helping transform lives. peacecorps.gov
For close to 50 years, Samaritans have provided lifesaving suicide prevention services in Massachusetts. Getting involved is a life-changing opportunity to help others in your community. 617-536-2460 samaritanshope.org
SIT is a leader in immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates. Semester long immersive programs offer an extraordinary, transformative study abroad experience. 888-272-7881, 1 Kipling Road, Brattleboro, VT 05302 studyabroad.sit.edu
This site offers a comprehensive directory of study abroad programs for experiential education including summer study, internship, service learning and volunteer programs, and more. Search by level, type, and country. Find useful insider information. studyabroad.com
Members in the VISTA program serve in any US state or territory to alleviate poverty by helping local organizations expand capacity to make change. Opportunities include serving full time for one-year and summer associate programs. americorps.gov/serve/americorps/americorps-vista
(Where to get certificates, licenses and training locally)
- Automotive Technology
- Computer Networking/Computer-Aided Design/Cybersecurity
- Cosmetic Services
- Culinary Arts
- Electrician/Electrical repair
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)/Nursing Assistant/Dental Assistant
- Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R)
- Interior Design
- Manufacturing Technology
- Paralegal Studies
Joining the United States military is a career path that many take after high school because of the numerous benefits that come with it. Although a career in the armed forces can be a dangerous job in some cases, you can also receive several benefits that you cannot get from many other jobs available in the civilian sector.
Some of the primary benefits that come with joining the military are the educational programs. When you get into the military, you can get access to the GI Bill. This gives you a certain amount of money to pay for your post-secondary education. You can get money to pay for your tuition as well as for your living expenses. You can also get some training in various college-level classes while you are in the military.
Another major benefit of joining the military is the health care that comes with it. When you are in active military duty, in the National Guard, or in the Army Reserves, you get access to a military health care plan called TRICARE.
As a way to recruit new military personnel, the government has set up a bonus program. The incentives that are being offered to join the military constantly change, but they can be substantial depending on a particular situation.
Skill Set that Employers Want
Employers are finding that veterans of all ranks have marketable technical and leadership skills. People with a military background also possess numerous attributes, including loyalty, leadership ability, respect, integrity, duty, reliability, and working as team members, that employers value in their employees.
Serving the Country
Another benefit of joining the military is that you get to serve your country and make a difference in the world. You get to help protect the country and do what many civilians cannot do. During military conflicts, it can be a very dangerous job.
If you are interested in exploring careers in the military, contact a local recruiter to set up an appointment to learn more about the enlisting process. See contact information below.
US Army Recruiting
328 Worcester Road, Framingham MA
US Navy Recruiting
255 Park Avenue, Worcester, MA
US Air Force Recruiting
255 Park Avenue, Worcester MA
US Marines Recruiting
186 Main Street, Marlborough MA
US Coast Guard Recruiting
Centre Plaza - 221 Centre Street, Malden, MA
Juniors interested in the Service Academies and the ROTC Scholarship programs should begin AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (January of Junior would be appropriate) to ensure that they receive full consideration. SATs and/or ACTs should be taken by May of the junior year. Open houses can be visited during the summer.
The first step in securing an appointment to one of the academies is to request a Pre-Candidate questionnaire.
|The Coast Guard Academy has an admissions procedure similar to other highly competitive colleges. However, there is no nomination process involved. Write directly for an application.|
The second step is to write to each of your senators and your congressman and ask that they consider you as one of their nominees.
Find your local representatives through this link: govtrack.us/congress/members
In this letter you should indicate your first, second, third, and fourth choices for academies as well as:
● Name, address, and telephone number
● Date of birth and Social Security Number
● High school name and year of graduation
● Names of your parents
Other helpful information:
● Steps for the Service Academies Application Process: whitehouse.gov/service-academy-nominations/steps
● Procedures for the Service Academies Process: whitehouse.gov/service-academy-nominations/procedures
● If an academy offers a Summer Leadership Experience program you should apply and attend if selected. Check
the specific academy website January of junior year to see when openings for the Leadership Camp opens.
Minimum Preparation While in High School:
● English - 4 years
● Math (through Calculus) - 4 years
● Foreign Language - 2 years
● Laboratory Science - 2 years
● American History - 1 year
ROTC Scholarship programs involve a competitive application process as well. In addition to the written application, candidates must undergo a physical examination, formal interview, and a physical abilities test. The first step in the process is to contact the local recruiting station for an application