Do you have a specific skill or interest that you want to hone or nurture as expediently as possible? Do you want to receive a hands-on, interactive education in your field? Students who attend technical college receive comprehensive educations in two or four years that fully enable them to join the workforce in specific industries.
NSM: What kind of student does best at a technical college?
Dwight Cross, assistant dean of enrollment at Vermont Technical College: We look for a student with strong math and science skills and somebody who wants to get in and do applied lab courses and be hands on.
NSM: Average GPA needed?
Cross: We like to see an 85 average or higher, but there is a lot of give and take.
NSM: What is the admissions process like?
Cross: We have rolling admissions, except for nursing and dental hygiene, which have specific deadlines. We ask for SAT scores, high school transcripts and a strong math and science background. Letters of recommendation are preferred but not required. We accept 60 percent of applicants.
NSM: What is unique about technical colleges?
Cross: You end up right in the field, right off of your first semester. We have two-year and four-year programs. Students can study engineering technology, veterinary technology, fire science (firefighting), business (sales, marketing), automotives, construction, equine studies (horsemanship), agriculture, dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, architecture, computer engineering, software engineering, sustainable design, nursing and electrical and mechanical engineering.
There are some majors students have to do an internship for (veterinary technology, automotive, construction).
NSM: What do you recommend for students considering technical colleges?
Cross: Students should make sure they take a math and science [course] senior year. They should also do a job shadow. Most companies are more than happy to open up their doors and let a student come in and experience a job for a day or two.
Liz Funk is a college junior from New York. Her first book, Supergirls Speak Out: the Secret Dilemma of Overachieving Girls, will be published in January 2009 by Touchstone/Fireside. She edits the teen blog GirlHeadQuarters.org.