How Does College Work? A Brief Guide

How Does College Work

Did you know that less than half of the world’s population is college educated? College is an integral part of setting yourself up for success in many careers. But how does college work, and what’s the layout of the higher education system?

If you’re planning on going to college, we’re here to help. Read on for a brief overview of some of the most important parts of the college experience.

Full and Part-Time

One of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. As with jobs, the amount of “hours” you’re enrolled in will decide this. But what are “hours” in regards to college classes?

Most colleges separate classes by college credits. The standard class is three credit hours, with full-time enrollment being 12 hours. As such, most full-time students are enrolled in four classes per semester, with summer semesters sometimes bending to fewer hours.

These numbers vary by college, and not all universities follow this standard.

College Majors

A second step in your college experience is choosing a major. A major is the primary degree that you’re chasing.

For example, you may choose to major in Business, English, or Science. From there, you often narrow down to a more specific path. Within these majors, you may find Marketing, Technical Communication, and Biomedical Sciences, respectively.

College Minors

Furthermore, some college students choose a minor. A minor is an optional supplementary degree that joins your major. These most often are directly related to a major and require fewer hours to earn than the primary degree.

An English major may choose Technical Communication, but not want to limit themselves to such writing. In turn, they would pick a Creative Writing or Literature minor. Doing so would allow them to chase their primary degree while accompanying it with different coursework.

Different Degrees

Finally, it’s important to know what type of degree you’re chasing. Here are the four primary types of degrees.

Associate’s

An associate’s degree is the shortest degree. Often offered at community colleges, this is a two-year degree. Most will earn an Associate’s while working toward a Bachelor’s.

Bachelor’s

A bachelor’s degree is the most common type. These four-year degrees are what most refer to as “Undergraduate” degrees.

Master’s

A master’s degree is a six-year degree that requires application to a graduate program. Most often, someone seeking a Master’s is applying with their Bachelor’s in a related field. These degrees are referred to as Graduate degrees.

Doctoral

Finally, a doctoral program is typically considered the peak of college degrees. These programs are generally eight-year academic pursuits that can vary in duration. Many online doctorate programs offer college students a way to earn their Ph.D.

Most often, a doctoral student is employed at or apprenticed to a specific professor or college. They’ll contribute to their field while earning their degree.

How Does College Work?

If you’re still asking yourself “how does college work,” you should consult with your advisor to learn specifics on how your college will conduct itself. Decide if you want to be a full-time or part-time student and what sort of degree you’re chasing. Above all, pick a major you’re interested in so you can have passion for your coursework.

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