University or tech: educational routes leave no wrong answer

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With different institutions available for continuing education, how do students choose the right one? Past and current students have faced this question time and time again. There is a lot of think over when deciding on an educational path.

Universities and technical colleges bring each student a different experience. Some students focus their time and energy on their desired career, while others might enjoy the exploration of other disciplines. Each student seeking a higher education looks for what fits his or her life and future goals. Location and cost of an institution can influence a future college student’s decision.

Nicole Freund, sophomore at UW-Fox Valley described why she chose UW-Fox.

“I chose [UW-Fox] because the tuition is better and it has smaller class sizes,” Freund said.

She went on to describe how her degree will hopefully change the quality of her life.

“Hopefully, it will be financially rewarding and I will get a better job and better hours,” Freund said.

UW-Fox Valley is an option for those looking to pursue a bachelor’s or an associate degree. · photo by Vinnie Oestreich

Freshman Gage Hirdler is another student currently attending UW-Fox Valley. At this time, Hirdler is currently undecided about his major and is exploring his different options. Hirdler’s goal is to achieve a four-year degree.

“I chose the four-year degree [path] since it fits my interest areas, which are arts and science, and will most likely help me find and be accepted at jobs in my desired field,” Hirdler said.

Typically, with four-year universities, a higher number of general education classes are required versus a technical school; not all students will want to go in that direction. They may look into technical colleges where there is an emphasis on learning a trade, with greater time taking classes directly related to their field. Therefore, less time is spent with unrelated required classes.

Stephany Boettcher, a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC), explained her situation.

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FVTC is an option for students in search of a career-focused two-year education close to home. · photo by April Berry

“I chose FVTC because it was close to home and it was the most affordable option for me,” Boettcher said. “With the two-year degree I obtained, it enabled me to have enough business knowledge and skills to go into any field of employment. I had to start out with an entry-level job, but I was able to work my way up with hands-on experience. I basically got my foot in the door.”

Sometimes situations arise where choosing a school is based on the demands of life. Those who have young kids or limited flexibility in time or money may opt for a technical college experience. This was true for Megan Koesing, who chose Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

“I have a family, so a four-year college just wouldn’t be in it for me,” Koesing said.

She also valued smaller class sizes.

“There were smaller classes than the big universities. My accounting program professor was amazing and she would go out of her way,” Koesing said.

The smaller class sizes meant instructors were more involved.

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