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Choosing a College: The Basics

Knowing the basics of what to look for in a college can help you make a decision that is right for you.

The school that is right for you varies depending on the career you are pursuing. To help you meet your career goals, find out which schools in your state offer the license or credential you need. Asking the right questions early can ensure the time and work you put into your education pays off. To help you choose, consider the following:

Type of education

What type of education do you need to meet your career goal? Do you need a two-year program with a specific concentration or four-year experience? Will you need a license or certification as well?

Accreditation

Accreditation is an important factor to consider when selecting a college. Accreditation plays a significant role in ensuring the credits you earn will transfer to a new institution if you relocate. In addition, once you’ve completed your education from an accredited institution, your credentials will be more marketable to employers because you’ll have met the standards for your career field licensure or certification.

Portability and transferability

As a military spouse, you regularly relocate, so make sure your education and credits can move when you do. Check out the listing of highly portable degrees for military spouses.

If you move due to a PCS, you can receive up to $1,000 in reimbursement for costs associated with exams or registration fees to keep working in your new state. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires.

Cost

The total cost for obtaining your education can be overwhelming. Take the time to determine what the costs are and what you can afford. Look at financial assistance resources, such as the Know Before You Owe Shopping Sheet, the Scholarship Finder and the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship to help you cover the costs of tuition. College Scorecard is another great resource to use to choose your school.

Now that you understand the major considerations for selecting a college, it’s time to identify the unique characteristics of each college that make it the right school for you. Your personal preferences and learning style should guide your research. Some important characteristics to consider include the following:

  • Type of school
  • Length of program
  • Tuition costs
  • Financial aid options
  • Class size
  • Portability
  • Marketable outcome

View the School/Program Selection Guide to weigh the costs and benefits of education institutions you are considering and contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website for additional guidance.p>

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