What College Should I Attend?

Taking a closer look college options

What College Should I Attend?

From public and private, to community and liberal arts, there are many types of colleges. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines college as “an independent institution of higher learning offering a course of general studies leading to a bachelor’s degree.”

College and Career Counselor, Kelly Faysash

Starting college preparation is not easy, and sometimes students need a lot of guidance. They need guidance from their families, teachers, and counselors.  Kelly Faysash, College and Career Counselor explained,” that it’s best to have an idea of what GPA and SAT score is needed to get into the college you would like to attend ahead of time.”

Mrs. Faysash helps guide students in the right direction to find the right fit for them after high school based on their goals and interests. Deciding what college, you want to attend should be based on one thing- your interests. Location, price, scholarships, major availability, sports/activities, and academic eligibility are all factors to be considered when applying to a college or university. 

Public colleges are owned by the state and are funded by the government, so attending community college is a more affordable option for college. Some of the top public colleges in Florida include the University of Florida (Gainesville), Florida State University (Tallahassee), and the University of South Florida (Tampa). Public universities usually have a variety of courses and majors to cater to a multitude of students. In-state students can receive discounted tuition and housing. The top public universities in the U.S. (Forbes Top 500 Colleges List) are the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). 

Financial Literacy Teacher, Jasmine Favata.

Private colleges are independently run and do not receive government funding, operating as non-profits. The top private universities in Florida include the University of Miami (Coral Gables), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach), and Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne). Private universities and colleges offer fewer majors, but more specialized programs, like double majors, honors, and internships. Due to the limited student population in private schools versus public, class sizes are smaller.  Affordable Colleges Online says that the average private college class has a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio. With a smaller class size, students can form bonds with other students and personal connections with professors, compared to 150 student lecture halls. The top private universities in the U.S. include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge), Stanford University (California), Princeton University (New Jersey), Columbia University (New York City), and Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts). 

Community colleges are two-year, affordable post-high school education centers. The top two-year colleges in Florida are North Florida College (Madison), Hillsborough Community College (Plant City), The College of the Florida Keys (Key West), Pasco-Hernando State College (New Port Richey), and Eastern Florida State College (Cocoa). Community College is an economical alternative to the traditional four-year programs offered at university. Students can get an associate’s degree that usually can be transferred to other colleges where students can continue earning their bachelor’s degree; students could even pursue a 4-year degree at community college. They can also proceed to get a career in S.T.E.M. A benefit to this route is the reduced cost which can help students avoid student debt. Additionally, there will not be that much of an adjustment for students since colleges are typically local, and students can commute daily with ease. Community colleges are more flexible than four-year institutions. According to Wallet Hub, the state with the best community college program is New Mexico. 

Senior Jasmyne Beson, who is attending PHSC next fall, says that “community college was the right decision because of the price, and the great nursing program offered.” According to College Factual, Pasco-Hernando State College is ranked #38 for Associate Nursing Programs in the Southeast region.

AP Human Geography Teacher, Fay Geiger.

The college decision should not be just an academic decision (although that is an important piece of it), but personal interests and beliefs are just as important. Religion is a big part of some people’s lives and can be intertwined with their education. While many religions coexist with each other, when it comes to religious colleges in the U.S., the most common religious colleges are Christian, Catholic, and Jewish. The top Christian college in Florida is Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg. Top Christian colleges across the U.S. include Duke University (Durham, North Carolina), Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia), and Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina). A benefit of attending a religious college is being surrounded by those who have the same belief system and have common ground with you, as well as being able to enrich your faith. The top Catholic college in Florida is Ave Maria University in Ave Maria. Some of the top Catholic universities in the U.S. include the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, North Carolina), Georgetown University (Washington D.C), and Villanova University (Pennsylvania). The top Jewish university in the U.S. is Yeshiva University in New York City. 

Single-sex colleges are institutions where only the student population is made up of one gender. According to East of the River News, the benefits of single-sex schools include gender-based support and fewer distractions. The top single-sex college in the U.S. is Spelman College located in Atlanta, Georgia, and is an all-female campus. 

When it comes to education, some people might want a distinct perspective on education. Historically Black Colleges or Universities, known as HBCUs, were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although the name can be misleading, anyone can attend an HBCU. The top HBCU in Florida is Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. HBCUs help meet the needs of low-income students while offering them the same level of education expected from universities of high income. UNCF says that HBCUs are rooted in faith, community, and service. By offering students of all backgrounds a chance at education, the racial wealth gap in America. 

No matter what college you go to, high school is a necessity. By taking AP and “real-world classes,” students are now being prepared for adulthood and life outside of school. The Dorothy L. Hukill Literacy Act, enacted by Governor Ron Desantis, now requires high school students to take a semester of a financial literacy course to graduate. Jasmine Favata, Financial Literacy Teacher, elaborated.” it is important to take a finance class in high school because behaviors and the economy relate, and students are being prepared for life after graduation.”

WCHS offers Advance Placement (AP) courses, a college-level class taken throughout the year to earn college credit by passing the final exam. AP Human Geography Teacher, Fay Geiger, commented,” AP classes are good preparation for college because you are upping your preparation level at a younger age.”