Choosing a College: Does it Really Matter?

College choice really does play a role in crafting your future as a working professional. There are several reasons for this, so it is important to explore these issues before deciding on a college. The most important issue regarding college selection involves aligning your future career goals with the educational institution's available programs. Some career paths may require a four-year degree, and other careers only require that you are able to pass a basic competency test.

Why College Choice Matters

Employers look at the college you attended in order to assess your readiness for employment. Some employers have their own preferences simply because they are familiar with the institution. They may have confidence that people graduating from certain institutions will be ready to work right away. The issue of choosing a college is really an issue of getting the specific kind of training you will need to create the future you want.

Community Colleges

If you select a college with your career goals in mind, you will be able to navigate your coursework successfully. However, there are many students who do not know exactly what they are going to do in life. These students often elect to attend a community college in order to get a feel for the different options of study available to them. Then, after they complete a certain amount of courses, they can pursue a four-year degree or even jump right into the labor market.


Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, are unique institutions that attract a diverse student body. These institutions were established to provide reparations for the many adverse effects imposed in the periods of legalized slavery and Jim Crow. Structural discrimination negatively impacted the educational prospects of students with African origins, so HBCUs were created to fill the gaps in higher education. These colleges may be either private or publicly funded, and many internal scholarship opportunities exist for students.

Vocational Colleges

Vocational colleges offer coursework and certification. They can offer you credentials after you graduate from their program, and you can use these credentials to pad your resume and create a favorable impression to employers.

There are many vocational colleges, and they offer specific training in a variety of career fields:

• Nursing
• Mechanic
• Electrician
• Computer Programming
• Culinary Arts
• Business Administration
• Dental Hygienist
• Welding
• Renewable Energy
• Legal Assistant

Technical skills are usually acquired during the course of your college education. This is another reason the college choice is important. You may need to be familiar with the common procedures and the best practices within your area of work. For example, nursing colleges offer specific courses that get you ready to perform the work you will likely encounter every day on the job.

Public Colleges, Private Colleges

Public institutions offer students the ability to compete with others on a relatively level playing field. Since public colleges and universities are supervised by the states in which they are located, the institution is accountable to the taxpayer. These institutions may offer additional aid to low-income students, and they may also favor policies that promote an inclusive and diverse student body because they are funded through tax subsidies from the state. Since each state is different, the type of education offered through the state's publicly funded university system will be unique to each state.

There is no national standard for educational curriculum, but each state must adhere to certain standards to continue to be eligible for Title IV federal student aid awards. Private institutions are privately funded by wealthy donors and institutions, and they tend to have higher tuition rates than public institutions. They may or may not be accredited, so always check the accreditation status of every college before enrolling.