It seems like everyone’s going back to school these days, and the multitude of for-profit colleges that have sprung up in the last decade make it easier than ever to earn a degree through part-time or online schooling. Before going out and signing up with the first for-profit school you come across or the one with the best commercials; take the time carefully consider the pros and cons of for-profit colleges and make sure that a for-profit university is the best fit for you.
1. Flexible Scheduling
For-profit institutions tend to have far more night, weekend, and online courses than their not-for profit counterparts. If scheduling around work or childcare is an issue in your household, the added flexibility of a for-profit institution might be the right fit for you.
2. Large Non-traditional Student Population
At a non-profit university, the majority of students are non-traditional, meaning that they’re adults who have been working and have decided to return to school. Being in an environment like that can be far more comfortable than being the only non-traditional student stuck in classes with a bunch of college freshmen.
3. Easy Admission
For-profit institutions normally don’t have a long, drawn-out admissions process. Their goal is to get as many students into the program as they can. As long as you meet some basic requirements, getting into the program shouldn’t be a challenge.
4. Minimum Amount of Prerequisites
Anyone who’s received a bachelor’s degree from a non-profit university knows that prerequisites can often take up to two years of study — and that’s not even in your chosen field. Many for-profit universities cut through the prerequisites requirements and will have you working in your chosen field much faster.
5. Faster Graduation
For-profit universities tend to have shorter semesters, and they don’t usually break for summer. That means their students often get their diploma or certification much more quickly than they would at a traditional college or university.
1. Mostly Online
If you are the sort of person who likes sitting in a classroom with a professor and fellow students, beware. Most for-profit institutions are heavily focused on online courses. That’s how they’re able to be so flexible with scheduling and course loads. Consider carefully what your best learning environment is before you enroll.
2. Reputations are Shakier
While for-profit universities have gained credibility in many different industries, there are still fields of work where they are not considered acceptable. Make sure you have researched the field you want to study thoroughly so that you know exactly how potential employers will react to a degree from a for-profit university.
For-profit universities are not always cheap. Some will cost you just as much as a private university. Be aware that any education loans you take out will have to be paid back eventually, whether you graduate or not. Carefully consider your financial situation carefully before enrolling.
4. Less Support for Students
A traditional university often has medical offices, housing, dining, mental health services, social programming and tutoring services available on-campus. For-profit universities typically do not offer these services. Consider whether or not those services would benefit you, and then check to see what your school does offer before enrolling.
5. Research Required
There are reputable for-profit colleges to choose from. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few disreputable ones as well. Don’t make a decision based solely on what the school itself has said. Instead, independently research each and every school you are considering to find out the reputation of the school and the program in which you are interested. Specifically seek out reviews on independent websites from students that are currently attending the school. Also, make sure to look at graduation rates and employment rates in the job you want for those graduating from the program.