By tamara Are you graduating from high school or looking to go back to college? There are several things to consider when deciding which college is right for you. One question that every student must ask is, “How much will my degree cost?” Depending upon the destination and the degree (undergraduate or graduate), the answer will vary. Other things to consider are location and the time to complete the degree, which can also add to the overall cost. While a traditional brick & mortar college may be the usual go-to choice for many students, there are other educational opportunities available. To help you decide which college venue is best for you, we have compiled a quick overview of the benefits (and possible shortcomings) associated with each option. Traditional Colleges Pros: • Opportunity to meet new people in classes and on campus • Hands-on instruction and face-to-face interaction with professors and students • More on-campus activities: sports, events, clubs and more! • Wide variety of courses and degrees Cons: • Credit hour fees may be higher than other options • Less flexibility in class schedules due to space constraints • Dorm/Housing fees Online Colleges Pros: • Flexibility with class schedules • Ideal for students who work or have children • Good for those who are self-motivated Cons: • Less personal interaction and networking in-person • Requires self-discipline and good time-management skills • Can be just as expensive as a traditional college • Courses may not transfer to other colleges Community Colleges Pros: • Credit hours are typically less expensive • Easier admission process – ‘Open Door’ policy • Saves money on travel and dorm fees Cons: • Fewer course options and limited degrees • May take longer to graduate Trade Schools Pros: • Smaller classes • Focus on practical skills and training • Shorter time to graduate Cons: • Education may not be well-rounded; classes only specific to trade • Credits do not transfer to other colleges (non-trade) Some studies have indicated that students at traditional colleges engage more in civic duties and are more knowledgeable about current issues and politics. This may be due in part to the campus activities and social interactions available both in and out of classes. However, adult learners, or those who must hold down a job while attending school, may find it easier to earn a degree online or at a community college. For those seeking to enter the workforce as soon as possible, trade schools can be a great choice. No matter what route you take to your college degree, be sure to look at all the pros and cons before signing on the dotted line. Check to see if the schools your are considering are accredited and ask if your credits would transfer to other colleges. Find out what the total cost will be to earn your degree or certificate, as well. There really is no wrong or right answer; just investigate what’s best for you and your bottom line. Need money to pay for your college degree? Be sure to look for scholarships by using a free online scholarship search tool, like ScholarshipExperts.com.