Wallace’s Tips for Higher Education


Ian Wallace, Columnist

For high school students across the country, higher education is becoming a greater necessity to prepare for the workplace.  Continuing education is strongly encouraged at BFUHS, and if you’re thinking of a two-year or four-year college degree, you will have thousands of options to spend the next few years of your life.  No matter your location or price point, these tips should help guide you in your search.

A large percentage of students going to a four-year college this year will enjoy the benefits of remaining in-state.  The University of Vermont, for example, offers an application fee waiver for in-state students regardless of family income who apply by the early action deadline.  Applying early action is a non binding procedure that will save you $55 and improve your chances of acceptance.

While many are looking for the peaceful, rural environment of Vermont, others will be looking for a college in a larger city.  If campus safety is a concern for you, the US Department of Education collects mandatory reports of campus safety and security and provides comparisons between colleges on enrollment and crime incidents.  Compare crime reports for schools on your list at https://ope.ed.gov/campussafety/#/.  

Interestingly, a few BFUHS students are interested in international colleges, primarily in Canada.  Canadian universities offer a simpler but separate application process and lower tuition, but pell grants are nonportable.  Canadian universities also offer a larger population of international students, providing a multicultural experience that is more accessible than in most US colleges.

If a four-year degree is in your future, but you don’t want to jump through hoops, The Community College of Vermont’s Direct Admissions program allows you to take college courses from CCV at the CCV tuition rate and receive guaranteed acceptance to Castleton, Johnson, Lyndon, or VTech.  

College is a major investment for your career; it’s expensive, but it has huge payoffs.  If the idea of paying for college is rather daunting and you’re up for an academic challenge, AP courses at BFUHS are accepted for credit at all vermont state schools, including UVM.  In addition, two vouchers for CCV courses are available to every student starting their junior year to receive college credit for specific honors level courses. Students who take advantage of these opportunities can potentially start college as a sophomore, saving a full year of tuition.  Maybe that’s motivation to join your classmates in “dreaded” level 4 and 5 classes. See your guidance counselor for details.

Additionally, when applying to college, research their financial aid policy.  Most financial aid packages will come with either need based aid, merit based aid, or both in the form of scholarships and loans, although many colleges are dropping loans from their financial aid packages.  Determining the total aid available to you can be difficult, but merit scholarship details are available on every colleges’ website (for those that provide merit scholarships), while need based aid can be approximated by every colleges’ mandatory net price calculator.  

Ultimately the decision on where to go to college will be determined by the circumstances of each individual family’s needs and preferences, but hopefully you are more adequately prepared to satisfy your higher education needs for your desired career.