A Family Look At Vocational Colleges And Scholarship Options

Recent world events have made paying for college a challenge, both for parents and their children. If your family finances indicate that a 4-year degree will put either you or your family in a dire financial situation, then maybe it’s time to have a conversation about vocational college. Not only can it be cheaper, but there may be a lot of scholarship opportunities waiting as well.

Difference Between A University And A Vocational School

The training you get at either a university or a vocational school will be intense. However, your time at a vocational school will be preparing you to quickly enter the working world.

Instead of entering the working world as someone with only a high school diploma, you will be entering as a trained professional. After less than 2 years, you could have the training you need to get started in your dream industry.

For example, if your goal is to become an attorney, you could study to become a paralegal. You would enjoy a much higher income than as a high school graduate and you would have the chance to study the field you want to join while earning that higher income.

What Will A Vocational Scholarship Cover?

If you qualify for a vocational scholarship, it’s important to be aware that this scholarship may not cover room and board. If you get a scholarship that will cover books and tuition, you may still need to find an apartment or stay with family while you complete your studies.

Some recipients don’t actually get their scholarships delivered to them; the funds transfer directly to the school. Nevertheless, once you have your scholarship, you can dig in and earn your degree or certification in a short time, making it possible to get to work and start earning a professional salary.

What Does The Applicant Need To Do?

To start, make sure you fill out your FAFSA and any financial aid applications required by the school. Once you have chosen your field of study, you will need to apply for scholarships directed to students in that field.

Unlike grants, scholarships and loans provided to students at a 4-year university will require a commitment to a specific major in order to earn a fully funded scholarship. Many college students change their major after a year or two; as a vocational student, you will not have that much time.

Many vocational programs are over in 8 months. Some take a year and some take 2 years. Once you receive a scholarship, are accepted into the program, and start studying, you will need to finish the program to receive your full scholarship funding.

However, when it comes to asking yourself, “What is a vocational scholarship?”, says that “You will not be required to pay it back… unlike many forms of financial aid for traditional 4-year colleges.”

Be Prepared To Keep Learning

Be aware that a vocational degree or certification is the first step in your educational process. If you complete a program in automotive technology but eventually want to own a repair shop, you will still need to study fields such as

  • business management
  • human resources
  • basic accounting

Having the skills to do the work is an excellent start in any industry. However, your long-term goals may require more study. One of the best benefits of attending a vocational college is that you can maintain expertise in your chosen field, earn more than you would as a high school graduate, and build a strong reputation as a skilled professional.

Plan For An Intense Program

If you are able to stay in your family home while you study for your vocational certification or degree, do so. This course of study will require a lot of hours in the classroom and a lot of work once you get home. Unlike a traditional university, the classes offered in a vocational college are tightly structured. You will have to follow a set series of classes to complete your training within the concentrated schedule provided. Working full-time or even part-time will be challenging.

Families can do a great deal to support young adults through a vocational college program. Encouraging the student to attend school from home is a critical first start. If the student must relocate, support with housing and other basic living expenses will help them focus on their studies and avoid debt.

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