“Higher education” is a term that refers to the schooling a person gets after or high school. It is generally education that leads to a degree, and it can be obtained at an institution such as a college, a university, a vocational or technical school, a seminary and more.
History of Higher Education
Institutions that resemble modern-day universities have been a part of education worldwide for over 1,000 years. In Europe, the earliest universities were formed in association with the Catholic church. These universities had been established for hundreds of years when the first institution for higher education was created in what was not yet the United States. That was Harvard College, established in 1636. Colleges spread throughout the country in the 19th century. Special colleges were established for the study of law and medicine. Institutions were also opened for women and African-American students since most places of higher education did not admit them. Throughout the 20th century, higher education expanded a great deal. Today, there are thousands of public and private institutions of higher education throughout the country.
Contemporary Higher Education
In the modern United States, there are several main types of institutions of higher education. At community colleges, students may achieve an associate’s degree after attending for two years. Community colleges may offer degrees in academic subjects as well as in technical and vocational areas.
Some people may attend a community college and use the credits obtained there to transfer to a four-year college or a university. Colleges typically offer bachelor’s degrees while universities offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Some universities also have professional programs for law, medicine and veterinary science. Students are admitted to these after getting a bachelor’s degree.
Although people generally think of colleges and universities when they hear the term “higher education,” there are also some technical and vocational schools as well as schools that focus on preparing people for creative careers in fields such as art and design.
Colleges and universities may be public or private institutions. Some are affiliated to varying degrees with a religion. When considering what college or university to attend, people should consider the courses offered, the cost and the size among other criteria.
While some of the topics studied in higher education prepare people for specific careers, such as accounting or law, other people may pursue more general degrees in areas such as English or history that prepare them to work in a variety of different fields. Students can consult advisers at the school of their choice to talk about their career plans and map out a program of study that will help them achieve their goals.
Innovations in higher education, such as offering online courses, are changing how students prepare to enter the world of work. In The Atlantic, some experts predict that higher education may shift to embrace a model that is more focused on learning throughout a person’s life instead of simply attending college for a certain period of years and then entering the workforce.
Related Resource: Top 50 Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction 2018
High school students who are interested in further education can talk to a school counselor about the possibilities. While not every career path involves higher education, many do, and it is important to understand when a degree from a college, university, vocational or technical school may help a person along that path.