College enrollment is expected to increase for 2014. In fact, enrollment for many types of college degrees is projected to continue to set new records throughout the fall of 2017 based upon the enrollment growth that has occurred within the last ten years. Over the last decade, the number of full-time college students has increased by more than 35% and the number of part-time students has grown by more than 15%.
Most of these students find college degrees at campus-based schools, although some do find college degrees online. Currently, there are a total of 4,182 campus based colleges and universities in the United States.
This number includes:
- 622 public 4-year institutions
- 1,076 public 2-year institutions
- 1,828 private 4-year institutions
- 656 private 2-year institutions
Experts believe that because the population of 18- to 24-year-olds has greatly risen over the last decade, the enrollment rates have increased. It is projected that enrollment for those who find college degrees at campus-based schools will be near 19 million for the fall of 2010.
College students have been trending toward earning certain types of college degrees. The largest numbers of bachelor degrees that have been conferred to graduates over the last few years have been in the fields of business, social sciences, history, education and health sciences. As for master’s degrees, the largest numbers are in the fields of education and business.
History of Campus Education
The first campus based education colleges in this country were founded by graduates of the United Kingdom’s University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. These small community colleges offered housing and board and instruction through residential tutors. High degrees—such as those in medicine and theology—were not conferred at these colleges.
Many state colleges were founded under the Morrill Land Grant Colleges Acts of 1862 and 1890. These Acts were established to make higher campus education more easily accessible to all citizens. At the time of these Acts, only the Ivy League colleges and several religious colleges had been founded—and they were only accessible to children of the elite. The Morrill Acts allowed the Federal government to give land to each state, on the condition that they used the land to establish colleges. The second Morrill Act allocated funding for the creation of several African American land grant colleges; this helped to provide better educational opportunities for blacks wanting to find college campus degrees.
Because of the Morrill Acts, many more citizens were able to earn various types of college degrees than ever before. The GI Bill after World War II made it possible for many veterans to find college degrees; it also helped to spread the belief that a college education is necessary for most people rather than only for the wealthy. Enrollment rates at campus based colleges have increased ever since this time.
The quality of education at college has greatly improved since the early years when tutors provided the instruction. In 1867 the Department of Education was established; this helped the states to create effective schools and curriculum for every learning level. The American Educational Research Association was founded in 1916; this organization later became the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and was created to educate teachers on how to provide effective instruction. Several other institutions and groups helped to improve the quality of college education–and the types of college degrees offered–over the last century as well.
Finding the Right Campus-Based School for You
When doing your college search for the best campus-based school to fit your needs, there are three key factors you will definitely need to evaluate for every college you consider:
Accreditation: It is important to select a college that has accreditation because that means it has met certain standards of higher education. More often than not, it is easy to find college degrees offered by accredited institutions.
College Staff: When doing your college search, check to make sure that most courses are taught by professors and instructors—not graduate students. It is usually not difficult to find college degrees that can be earned through courses taught by qualified professors and instructors.
College Tuition: You can find college degrees at schools that are affordable; it isn’t necessary to attend the most expensive school. Expand your college search if only expensive schools are coming up in the results.
Aside from evaluating the above three factors as you do your college search, it is also wise to determine the types of college degrees offered at each of the colleges you consider. The following types of college degrees are commonly offered at many schools:
The types of college degrees at some schools, however, do not align with these common offerings. Some schools may instead offer Diplomas or Certificates upon completion of a training program. You can find college degrees online, listed with more information about each—simply do an internet search to find college degrees in which you are interested in earning.
Be sure to evaluate the campus based degree programs at each college you are considering as well. After you find college degrees you may want to earn, check out the course catalogs. Are there internships, hands-on training opportunities, and other interesting courses relevant to the degrees? Placement assistance upon graduation is also important in a degree program; when doing your college search, check for this information as well.
As you do your college search and look to find college education online or through the literature you may have requested from colleges, do not neglect another good source of information—college alumni. You can learn a great deal from the alumni about a school. It is especially helpful to speak with someone from your home city or state who attended a particular college, as this will give you a better perspective of the school. If you do not know any alumni members, you should be able to find some while doing your college search—each college should be willing to give you the names of some of the alumni.
Applying to Campus Based Schools
As you are working on your college search, you will likely find college degrees available at schools at which you may want to attend. Once you have chosen a few colleges, it is time to begin the admissions process.
Depending upon the types of college degrees you are pursuing and the campus based colleges in which you are interested, the applications may ask for different materials or may include different forms. Most college applications, however, do include the following:
- Application fee: Read the application to find out the fee amount and how it needs to be paid.
- Transcripts: Some colleges allow an unofficial high school transcript to be sent with the application; then, if you are accepted to the college you are directed to send an official transcript either at that point or upon graduation.
- Test scores: Depending upon the colleges you chose during your college search, you will likely need to complete either the ACT or the SAT tests—or both.
- Letters of recommendation: These cannot be written by relatives. Ask former teachers, coaches, or employers to write these letters about your character, responsibility, initiative, and self-discipline.
- Application form (usually with essay): Be sure to complete this form neatly and carefully. This form is the college’s first impression of you. As far as the essay goes, be creative—but also be grammatically correct. Look online for tips on writing college application essays.
After you have submitted your applications, be patient. It can take at least several weeks for some colleges to respond; after all, many schools receive thousands of applications every year. If you have heard nothing after 8 to 10 weeks, you may contact the admissions office to find out the status of your application. Find the contact information for the admissions office on the college’s website.
Preparing for Campus Education
Once you have enrolled at a campus-based college, you will need to get prepared for your new student life. Regardless of whether you have decided to commute to school or live on campus, there are many new factors to consider.
Here are some helpful tips for students who choose to commute to campus colleges:
- Scout out the buildings in which their classes are held ahead of time so that you can figure out your best mode of transportation, including parking (if applicable).
- Get involved in on-campus college activities in order to get to know other students outside of the classroom.
- Use on-campus resources, such as the computer lab, tutoring, counseling, and others—these resources are for all students, not only for those who live on-campus.
Students who live on college campus — usually out-of-state students — usually have other issues and concerns. Here are some tips for out-of-state students:
- Sit down with roommates and set ground rules for the dorm room that are respectful of everyone before the school year begins.
- Bring only what you need to campus — dorm rooms are rather small. Do an online search for a list of college essentials.
- It is exciting to be away from home, but don’t neglect your classes in favor of the party scene; your grades will suffer.
Affordable resources are a must for just about every college student. Fortunately, there are several places where students can find books, supplies, and computer equipment at budget prices. Check these sources when you are in need of any of those items:
- Local used bookstores
- Local thrift stores
- Campus bookstore (used books are often sold here)
- Bulletin boards around campus (used equipment is often advertised for sale)
- Online marketplaces (such as Craigslist or EBay)
- Local Freecycle chapter
Any student can get assistance in college by using the resources available on campus. Most colleges have support groups and counselors available for those who need to talk. Study groups with other classmates can be great for those who need extra help understanding classroom material—the classmates can help each other learn. And of course, any student can speak with his professors when he/she is having difficulty in class—simply approach the professor after class and ask to speak with them during their business hours. Campus education tutoring is also available at most colleges.
Organizing Your Life with College
Attending college is much different than attending high school. Once you begin college, it may seem as if your whole life has been turned around—and it may be difficult to get organized. Here are some ways in which you can stay organized:
Prepare your class schedule mindfully. Do not just take classes simply because the courses are available; consider the time the class is held and the times of the other courses you are considering. Think about how many classes you want to take each day as well.
Be sure to prepare for your classes and for your tests. If you are unprepared, you will fall behind—or worse, you risk scoring low or failing altogether.
Keep your life away from college, organized. Have routines or schedules for when you complete certain activities and tasks.
It will also help you to stay organized and to not feel overwhelmed if you get support when you need it. Lean on family members and friends if they’re available and certainly they will help you when they can. Co-workers can also be supportive. You can turn to classmates for assistance, such as with studying or with issues on campus. Don’t be afraid to use the school resources either, when you need them—school counselors and tutors, for example, are there to help.
Succeeding at Campus Based Colleges
It is definitely possible for anyone to succeed at a campus based college. While there are numerous secrets to success, here are some simple tips and suggestions that can lead anyone to success:
- Keep up with your classwork. Many—if not most—college courses include a great deal of reading. If you do not keep up with the reading, you will soon find yourself far behind. Instead, do read at least a little bit every day.
- Prepare for tests by studying with other classmates, reading over your notes, and/or having your roommate or a friend quiz you on the material.
- Get the most out of any online classes that are offered by saving material (if allowed) and taking notes. Use what you have learned in your on-campus classes.
- Do not try to cram when preparing for finals. Instead, attend study guide sessions, compare notes with other classmates, and study the material for several days. Most finals cover the entire term’s worth of material; do not expect to re-learn it over one evening of studying.
Preparing for your Future
Employers are generally impressed with most types of college degrees earned from campus based schools. These days, though, many employers are seeking out employees who have had hands-on training and experience in the field. You can make the most of your college campus education by completing an internship or training program through your college. Many schools offer these types of programs, either as part of the degree program or upon graduation. In either case, earning a college degree along with hands-on field skills can make you an appealing choice for an employer.
It is also beneficial for you to become an active alumnus. This will help to provide you with networking contacts that may help you in your employment opportunities. Getting involved as an alumnus may prove to be quite advantageous to your future prospects.
When considering your college options and doing a college search, you may decide that a campus-based education is best for you. You can find college degrees online—and you can even earn college degrees online—but for many people, attending college at a traditional campus is the right choice. Do your own careful research in order to make the right decision for you.