Many parents and students have a stereotype of college as it previously existed in this country. The old stereotype of college is that it is an incredibly difficult place built only for the brightest students. That old stereotype was born when most jobs did not require a college education let alone a high school diploma.
Today, college is a term for a wide variety of institutions set up to serve many different types of students from the brightest and most well-prepared to those who are not quite prepared or have learning challenges. Colleges have also evolved to offer a wider variety of programming, degree types and modes of delivering instruction than most families realize.
College missions vary. Some are more like businesses and are, in fact, for-profit institutions. Consumers will find that for-profit colleges often are much more expensive but offer shorter term programs or other incentives. Within the community colleges, four year colleges and universities available, there are a variety of cultures, philosophies and missions to consider. Services and amenities differ as does price. Emphasis on employability of graduates and assistance securing professional employment are also good areas to explore.
The good news is that there is a college to meet almost every type of student need, career interest and pocketbook. It helps to get an early start to allow time to research the options that are best for the students in the family.