Lynn Scully, LLC

After High School - College or Career

copyright © 2003-2010 by Lynn Scully, LLC.

After High School -
College or Career

Choosing to Start a Trade

Whether you choose a trade, apprenticeship on-the-job-training or other work program directly from high school, consider the opportunities for career advancement.  A good idea, when considering a trade, is to include business courses, financial training and management skills.  These may be part of the high school education, an associates degree, as part of a technical school education, or in community night courses.

Why Start a Trade

  • Immediate earning potential.
  • Job satisfaction.
  • Potential for self employment and job flexibility.
  • Fiscally rewarding.
  • Public service:  police service, park service or others provide training.

Possible Negatives

  • You are responsible for benefits and book keeping.
  • You are responsible for other workers.
  • A limited background may prohibit future advancement or limit future career options.

Choosing to Begin Military Service

Why Start a Military Career

  • Job experience.
  • Immediate earning potential.
  • Earn while you learn.
  • Money for higher education.
  • Newest technology.
  • ROTC-Officer training at college.
  • Travel.
  • There are many different branches and opportunities: National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserves.

Possible Negatives

  • Lack of flexibility in career.
  • Probable military service.

Choosing to Further Your Education

While it may be one of the single most expensive investments you make, future success is more likely determined by your student’s disposition, abilities, will-power, determination, and general outlook.  The idea that a certain college will set the stage for a fulfilling life is probably just a symptom of the media blitz about college and admissions.  Studies have shown that equally qualified high school students who chose to attend a less selective college earn the same as their counterpart who did attend the highly selective college.  The college experience does not end with the acceptance letter … and life does not end with a rejection letter.

Different Continuing Education Opportunities

Technical School

Technical School usually offers area high school graduates vocational training in technical fields.  May also have residential dorms.  Length of education varies based on the program of study.

Why Technical School?

  • Great networking and work study potential.
  • Includes basic business practices.
  • Flexible schedule may allow for outside job.
  • Technologically advanced - usually teaches the newest techniques, on new machines.
  • Straightforward admissions procedure.
  • Reasonable cost.

Possible Negatives

  • Very few four-year colleges will give credit for courses completed at a technical school.
  • Little or no campus housing.
  • Limited extracurricular student involvement.

Community College

Community Colleges are accredited colleges which serve the needs of the immediate community.  Community college frequently offers continuing education courses to the community.  Associates degrees, some bachelors programs and transfer to four year institutions are options.  Faculty is primarily part time professors or non-doctoral instructors with few full time professors.

Why Community College?

  • Personal attention is commonplace - remedial instruction is available.
  • Easy application process.
  • Professors generally are not under pressure to “publish or perish”.
  • Family circumstances.
  • Student maturity - readiness to leave home.
  • Finances - usually minimal cost per credit - financial aid is available to qualifying students.
  • Job - Flexible class schedules usually accommodate most work schedules.
  • Unsure of intended course of study.
  • May focus on specific job opportunities (the college may partner with local area industry).
  • Transfer potential.  For information on transferring colleges in New Jersey, visit

Possible Negatives.

  • No on-campus housing.
  • Few community activities.
  • Upper-level classes may not exist - transfer is necessary (programs that do not culminate in a 4 year degree are referred to as terminal programs).

Junior College

Junior Colleges are usually private, small colleges (less than 1000 students) which focus on class work to raise academic potential of underperforming high school graduates.  Most are residential with a structured work and social environment to encourage academic responsibility.

Why Junior College?

  • Small class size.
  • Structured atmosphere exists for high school graduates who are not self motivated or not ready to experience full independence.
  • Good counseling programs are usually available.
  • Similar to Junior college in the post-graduate year.
    This is a fifth year of high school dedicated to helping students mature academically before the rigor and responsibility of college.  This program is offered through some private high schools and some 1-year only post graduate schools.

State College (Public Colleges)

State Colleges are large state and federally funded colleges set in suburban or urban areas.
A typical student-body size for state colleges is 15,000 or more students.  Tuition is generally significantly less than comparable private schools, and even less for in-state students.  Large and diverse student body allows for many different cultural and social atmospheres, so no single atmosphere dominates.

Why State College?

  • Excellent colleges with immense choice of majors, great opportunity to specialize.
  • Lower cost.
  • More financial aid.
  • Established co-op programs, ties to industry, regional work experience, ROTC programs.
  • Close to home.
  • Usually technologically advanced.

Possible Negatives

  • Independent atmosphere is not as nurturing (self-direction and maturity are important).
  • No need for the colleges to attempt to “keep” borderline students.
  • Quality of instruction may vary due to the vast number of faculty.
  • Access to professors may be difficult.
  • Housing may be limited.

Private College

Private Colleges get most of their operating funds from tuition, endowments and private sources.  Size is usually much smaller than public institutions and the social atmosphere is usually more discernible; student groups, fraternal organizations or other organization provide much of the social aspect.  While most offer a variety of majors, significantly liberal arts, many have a specific focus, which may be regional or traditionally determined.  Many were founded by and may still receive support from a religious denomination, this religious backing may be evident in the curriculum.

Why Private College?

  • Lower faculty to student ratio may translate to more attention.
  • Teachers and counselors will work with student to ensure academic viability.
  • Smaller campus allows for more community feeling, although this may not be a positive for every student.
  • Attractive merit-scholarships for qualified students.
  • Counseling available and encouraged.
  • Specialized programs are encouraged – year abroad, community projects, etc.

Possible Negatives

  • May be pricey.
  • May not offer a variety of courses-you may be “locked in” to a major or field of study.
  • Small size may inhibit some students.
  • May have limited campus resources, unless it has an unusually large financial endowment.

Transfer Student

A transfer student is one who completed course work at one or more colleges or universities and then continued his education at a different institution.  For information about transferring credits among NJ schools, go to or

Benefits of transferring

  • Access to a college that may have been out of reach during the high school senior year may be an option based on the strength of a strong transcript.
  • Basic freshman studies completed, in an atmosphere of support (family home).
  • Save money while completing freshman (and sophomore curriculum).
  • More time to investigate and decide on a major - more flexibility.
  • May benefit from increased attention and counselor input during freshman year.
  • Allows a longer transition to “adulthood”.  Precludes the necessity to grow up, become responsible and get good grades all at the same time.
  • Most lasting friendships are not formed until students attend core curriculum classes anyway, so the transfer student does not miss social experiences by joining the class later.

Possible Negatives

  • Transfer before 2 years may still require SAT or ACT scores.
  • The student’s feeling that he has missed out on the “college experience”.
  • Poor performance in freshman or sophomore college year may hinder the transfer process.

copyright © 2003-2010 by Lynn Scully, LLC.
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Lynn Scully has been tutoring and guiding high school students through their college admission process for the past 21 years.  She is the author and host of the get IT SAT Preparation Program.
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