Are career/technical colleges worth it in your opinion? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-01-2010, 02:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like I have bee taking prereqs forever at the community college. By the time I finish I'll have spent 4 years getting a 2 year degree. I wanted to go this route because I won't end up in major debt. How ever it looks like I just added a year to the schedule thanks to failing a class this semester The program only opens once a year and they take in 25 students and I won't be able to apply in time now so I'll have to wait another year but this is starting to add up in expenses.

Its been I dunno, 2 years since I checked out the career college and if I remember right its an 18 month program and I won't have to get all the prereqs done first as its built into the program and I won't waste my time doing the prereq for the prereq for the prereq kinda thing and right now I'm literally wasting 18 months just in math classes! The only reason I didn't do it was because they wanted $25k for the program and considering community college is free... yeah.

I'm feeling like I'm out of time, no idea how I could pull this off with the kids as a single mama with no real support network.

Anyway between feeling the time crunch and the fact that the the CC just graduated there 2nd class and again there pass rates for the national exam are dismal, only a 50% pass rate and of the half that failed and retested 50% of those failed! The career college has an 88% pass rate on the 1st try with a 45% pass rate for the 2nd time around. Much better numbers then the CC and this tells me a lot about the programs success if 88% of students are passing national exams on the 1st try.

So now I'm wondering if I should really start thinking about it and just suck up the cost just so I can get though it quickly because I can't stay in school forever. I mean at this rate I'll have another 3 years of school assuming nothing goes wrong like it has this past semester which pushed me out another semester and program application out a year

I don't even want to think about the childcare issues at this point, I figure things will fall in line if its meant to be.

So, do you think there worth it? My girls are not exactly babies anymore and the youngest is preschool age but childcare would be covered in full for her at no cost to me, its the older one that's got me worried.

When I call them what questions should I be asking?

Seriously?
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:33 AM
 
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If you think you can do it, a career college can work.

The first thing I would ask about is openings. If it's a popular program there may be a wait list for getting in. I would also enquire about financial aid outside of loans, many private and public companies offer grants and scholarships and some of them are reserved specifically for single moms.

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Old 01-01-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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Community college absolutely can be a great opportunity. Heck, I could have gone to y local CC, and in 2-3 years, had I pursued, say, an assoites in nursing program, I would be making twice what I making now with my 4-year bachelor of arts degree, and I wouldn't have $30K of debt from the 4-year school I went to.

No offense, but what would have happened at the career college if you had failed a class? It would have cost you some serious money in addition to your time, right? At least this way, you're just out your time.
I will say the one thing I don't like as much about comm college is the students don't tend to really understand wha they need to take and when, and they waste a lot of time, or end up havign things happen like you did, and if you fail, it sets you back a whole year, etc. Or, sicne the programs tend to be so focused, as opposed to something like a bachelor program with a lot of electives, if you change your major/degree, it usually means starting over, or close to it..lots of stuff won't be applicable to your new degree. thats what happened to my stepdaughter, and in the end, she just dropped out, after about 3 years in college, and not a degree or certification in sight.

Are those your ONLY 2 options?

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Old 01-01-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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I used to teach at a career college so I may be biased but I would only consider a career college as a last option...a very last option. For starters they are way more costly than a traditional community college and while many of the instructors are just as qualified to teach at a traditional community college some are not.

As for financial aid, unless you have the ability to pay upfront you need to be careful they don't hook you up with private loans. I knew the financial aid folks and honestly I felt like the students were being scammed and the school I taught at had a great reputation.

Also the scheduling IMO is not that parent friendly and if you miss classes they are even harder to make up. I had a few students generally single Mamas who would miss classes and because of the compressed nature of the these programs, making up a class meant creating more work and not giving much time to get it done.

I think that these schools by and large have less support available to students than community college so if you know you have a life that gets hectic that is something to be careful about. I had students who would say the admissions folks said I could take a day off a week but of course that's not realistic at all. Problem is at a career college the admissions folks are under pressure to get students in so sometimes the details are left hanging in the wind and the result is students sign up, stay just long enough to be on the hood for the money but struggle to finish.

So yeah, I'd probably avoid it. That said, if you think you can commit to the schedule they will have, and don't have to deal with pre-reqs, are also realsitic about your earning potential as it relates to paying back the loans, then it might be for you.

Whatever you decide good luck!

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Old 01-01-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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what would have happened at the career college if you had failed a class?
I would also be concerned about the student retention rate of a "for profit" college. Maybe 80% of their graduated students did pass the licensing exam, but what if only 30% of the starting students made it to graduation?

I have much more confidence in a non-profit community college. Find an academic pace that you can handle with your child responsibilities, and stick with it.
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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[QUOTE=SleeplessMommy;14867155]I would also be concerned about the student retention rate of a "for profit" college. Maybe 80% of their graduated students did pass the licensing exam, but what if only 30% of the starting students made it to graduation?
QUOTE]



That is something you definitely have to look into. When I was looking at nursing schools, the private school in the area had a 96% pass rate on the licensing exam the first time, but had a 60% attrition rate. That was because you failed the class if you made below an 80% on any exam.

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Old 01-01-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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I would also be concerned about the student retention rate of a "for profit" college. Maybe 80% of their graduated students did pass the licensing exam, but what if only 30% of the starting students made it to graduation?

I have much more confidence in a non-profit community college. Find an academic pace that you can handle with your child responsibilities, and stick with it.
Yep, that was an issue at the school I taught at. There was a high number as far as students who passed the licensing exam but only because in reality only 50% of the students actually graduated. Like others I agree that I would have more confidence in a community college in part because they are not profit driven and in most cases have way more resources than a career college.

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Old 01-01-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Speaking as someone that went to a career college. I got honors at the school I attended, never missed a day, sucked up the information like a sponge. I loved every minute of the schooling. I was the best in my class. Then I had to do an internship and I wasn't taught anything on the job site, the person that was supposed to teach me went on paternity leave 2 weeks into my 5 week internship and I missed half the training I was supposed to recieve. The school made it well known that you get one internship site and that's it, unless you have to move extremely far away.

It's been 5 years and I have yet to work with my certification. I sent resume after resume along with their "career placement assistance" sending my resume, followed leads, walked into offices all for over a year. In that 5 years I could have gotten an associates nursing degree, including the prereqs at CC, and ended up in the same amount of debt, a degree, be more employable, and probably would have used the training I would have recieved.

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Old 01-01-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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It depends on the school. What you are going for. And if the credits are transferable (this doesn't always matter).

What are you going to school for?
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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Of course it depends on what you study. I was a Licensed Prac Nurse in under 2 years and was a great spring board for money-making and life in general. Hard, but worth it.

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Old 01-01-2010, 05:48 PM
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I think they are worth it. If you know exactly what you want to be.
My friends daughter has just given up on CC she's been going for 2.5 years (since high school) hoping to transfer on to 4 year college. She just found out in October she was still going to be 1 unit short to transfer, no one in the college wanted to help her sort anything out, so she completed her classes in Dec and has quit. If she does 1 unit this next semester she'd have to wait till Sept 2011 to start state University as the ones here are all closed to admissions for 2010 they closed them in November (thanks Arnold)
So now she's thinking of doing the 12 month heavy load LVN program one town over, and getting started with a job after that. She's pretty pissed she should have just done this two years ago.
If you can afford it, just do it and get the education over and done with.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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I think they are worth it. If you know exactly what you want to be.
My friends daughter has just given up on CC she's been going for 2.5 years (since high school) hoping to transfer on to 4 year college. She just found out in October she was still going to be 1 unit short to transfer, no one in the college wanted to help her sort anything out, so she completed her classes in Dec and has quit. If she does 1 unit this next semester she'd have to wait till Sept 2011 to start state University as the ones here are all closed to admissions for 2010 they closed them in November (thanks Arnold)
So now she's thinking of doing the 12 month heavy load LVN program one town over, and getting started with a job after that. She's pretty pissed she should have just done this two years ago.
If you can afford it, just do it and get the education over and done with.
Somewhat OT, but as a homeschooling parent I am curious about this. Can't people transfer any time? I was not aware of any number of units or credits required to apply to another school. One of my past jobs involved admissions for a state university and number of credits only mattered if a person did not have a high school diploma or GED.

Back on topic..... Again from my previous work in admissions, I would caution anyone considering a career college or technical school if you think there is any chance you would ever want/need to go to school again in the future. Most are not transferable so you would be starting from the beginning again. I cannot even count how many REALLY ANGRY applicants I had to explain this to.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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Somewhat OT, but as a homeschooling parent I am curious about this. Can't people transfer any time? I was not aware of any number of units or credits required to apply to another school. One of my past jobs involved admissions for a state university and number of credits only mattered if a person did not have a high school diploma or GED.

Back on topic..... Again from my previous work in admissions, I would caution anyone considering a career college or technical school if you think there is any chance you would ever want/need to go to school again in the future. Most are not transferable so you would be starting from the beginning again. I cannot even count how many REALLY ANGRY applicants I had to explain this to.
Ussually they can, but CA has some special stuff going on because the state is bankrupt ---more or less. Also, remember not all community college credits are transferable anywere. You have to do research starting college and were you want to transfer to.
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Old 01-02-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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Also wondering what you are gong to school for. Some career/tech schools won't result in transferrable credits (ie to go on and get a bachelors), so look into that as well.

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Old 01-02-2010, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also wondering what you are gong to school for. Some career/tech schools won't result in transferrable credits (ie to go on and get a bachelors), so look into that as well.
Respiratory therapy

Seriously?
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:31 AM
 
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Respiratory therapy
oh, so I guess then, personally, if it was an accredited program and I knew I could get hired afterwards (likely, as RT's are in demand in most locations) I would go for it. I mean, a lot of loan $$ seems scary and risky - but if you feel like it's going to take several more years at the rate you are going, anything quicker seems ideal. I guess it depends on the time difference - like if it's only a yr or less sooner in total of schooling, it might be worth sticking at the CC. That said, do look into fin aid options at the other school - it might not cost as much as you are thinking. Good luck figuring it out.

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Old 01-02-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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Can you get in touch with current or past students to see if they would recommend the program? Indeed.com or a similar site might have reviews/msgs about it... Or if there is a RT forum somewhere you can search the school name and see if students felt prepared for certification and a career afterwards...

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Old 01-02-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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I would go talk to the program and see what its like. Meet with an advisor, go talk to financial aid etc. Get all the info, tour the campus, possibly sit in on a class, talk to a teacher (professor)- find out how qualified the instructors are.
I just did a career change and went to an 'adult learning campus' and while there are accomodating for issues it was a condensed program and absenses were difficult to make up. I too had childcare issues etc so I needed to be confident those things were taken care of before I signed up for the program. Now that Im to the 'internship' part of the program (student teaching) its really difficult. But I am forging ahead and just getting it done, no matter how hard it is with $$ etc. What I liked about my progam was it was all night and weekend classes so it really helped with daycare for me. I could send DS to a friends for a couple hrs etc.
SO all in all, go talk to them, get info, etc then decide. But most importantly make sure you GO TO THE CAMPUS.

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