Choosing the right college for many graduates from one of the four local high schools can be a difficult task. Is it really a hard decision to make? Some students have already applied and been accepted to a number of colleges or universities in Georgia and abroad. Others have pondered the question of what is it that they want to do with their lives? When choosing the right college or university, there are many factors that you will have to consider.
First let me begin with the differences between a college and a university. There is a misconception that the only difference is the size of the campus or the number of students enrolled. While this can be true, this is not the only true difference between the two. While most universities have a larger student enrollment than colleges, it is most definitely not the case in the city of Albany, Georgia. Darton College has a total enrollment of over 5500 and Albany State University has a total enrollment of over 4500. These numbers prove that enrollment doesn’t determine how a college or university is classified.
The true deciding factors are the programs and resources that the school has available to them. Universities offer baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees whereas a two year college or technical college offers associate degrees and diplomas. Also, with universities their degree programs are housed in colleges or schools, such as the College of Arts and Humanities or the College of Education. Schools or colleges on a university’s campus are larger and the program is more advanced than that of a two year college or technical school. Two year colleges or technical schools are housed by academic departments such as; the Department of Humanities or the Department of Nursing which are substantially smaller and do not have as many resources as the schools and colleges on university campuses. Simply all the different departments of English and Foreign Language on a two year college campus would make up one college or school on a university’s campus.
While comparing Albany State and Darton, I discovered that the dilemma of choosing the right institution may very be solved right here in the Good Life City. Albany State University offers an on campus residential life as well as Darton College. If a native Albanian wants to enjoy their college experience while being away from home, the option is there. More importantly, each school specializes in specific areas and the quality of education succeeds and/or matches that of other states, cities, and countries. In 2008, I conducted research on local high school graduates and their deciding factors when choosing not to attend a local college. I found that many local high school seniors wanted to attend school in cities other than Albany. Not because they felt that the education here was of less quality but that it was simply a matter of wanting to experience life outside of Albany. Since many will return home to work after graduation, it is a wise decision to intern in the city where you plan to reside. Therefore, choosing a local school will benefit those who plan to remain in the city of Albany and thus forcing the city to open more jobs for the educated residents. If the population of educated people exceeds those who lack education, the resources are there to help this city grow. For the local graduates who have not yet made a choice, the choice is easy. Stay home, attend ASU or Darton and help to build our community it is cheaper and wiser.