By Contributing Author
Higher education has long been a staple of society, and completing a college degree is still a symbol of prestige that many people aspire to. If you are one of these people, navigating the system of higher education might seem daunting. There are many aspects of it are changing, but luckily, many of these changes stand to benefit students. It is important, nonetheless, to understand what lies ahead. Whether you are researching schools, considering different degrees or simply wondering whether college is right for you, knowledge of the following five changes will help you be better equipped to succeed.
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Making an informed decision is one of the most important things you can do. In many ways, college is more accessible than ever, but this accessibility has been made possible by major changes. There are many changes still to come, too, so you should consider the following before enrolling.
Shift Towards Online Tech
Many schools have seen the benefits of online technology and gradually begun to shift their classes and administration towards a web-based presence. This is great for students who are computer savvy, and it generally does offer more accessible services. This shift has been so drastic, though, that some college degrees are only available online. For students who want an on-campus experience, this may not be ideal, but for students with jobs, families and other obligations, this is one of the best developments possible for higher education. You should research whether the program you are interested in is available online.
Tuition and Fees Likely to Rise
Unfortunately, rising prices are a reality of nearly every product in the current economy—college degrees included. Tuition and fees have been rising steadily at most universities for some time now, and this trend does not show any signs of slowing down. While this might deter some prospective students, it motivates others: college will likely never be cheaper than it is now, but if you wait to enroll, it will very likely be more expensive. According to CNBC, a reason for the continual expense spike is the impact of budget cuts and subsidy cuts at both private and public colleges.
Impact of New Government Policies
College is not the only thing in the U.S. that has been changing recently. Everybody is aware of the new administration’s actions, and in many ways, Donald Trump’s policies intersect with the changes taking place in colleges. He has indicated that he hopes to affect many aspects of the higher education system in his policies. Some of the most important changes he has announced include a reduction of the cost of college programs, general improvement of quality and support towards a comprehensive educational model. Changes such as these are likely to affect all current and prospective college students.
More Programs to Choose From
There is more variety than ever when it comes to college programs that you can select from. The expansion of online education has allowed many universities to offer unique and niche degrees that would not otherwise be available to students. This means that if you have a specific interest, and there is no course of study that fits it at your local college, turning to online programs is often the best bet. In addition to the wider variety of degrees you will find, you can take advantage of greater convenience and accessibility when you log online for your classes.
Different Admissions Processes
Yet another important change to be aware of is the change in admissions processes that is affecting many colleges—both online and on-campus. Generally, there has been a spike in competition, which means that it is more important than ever to compile an application that is convincing and reflective of your academic potential. Financial aid applications have changed, too, but luckily they have become more user-friendly for students who have never applied for or received aid. Both of these shifts will potentially benefit students by providing a more competitive and easily-funded college experience.
College is one of the best investments you can make in yourself, your knowledge and your future career prospects. If you are worried about making on-campus classes fit your busy life, online programs may be the best option. Though higher education is changing, its ability to grant new opportunities remains the same.