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Opted for 2-Year over 4-Year

I had to finance my own education, and I didn't want to be a poor student for 4+ years.

Photo of Norma Roles
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It was 1986; I had 3 semesters of a microbiology program under my belt when I decided to pursue a more creative field.  At the time, many regular universities did not have rigorous Interior Design programs. There were the specialty design schools of course but they were horribly expensive. Since the field didn't require a lot of coursework to start a successful career, I opted for a marketable-skills-based AA degree at a small private college in SF. I financed my education via scholarships, loans, and working 20-30 hours/week to support myself. The total cost was around $15K for both years, and didn't include living expenses and supplies.  I felt it was worth it; I have been in this field for about 25 years now.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Not every career path requires a four-year degree. Rather than the 4-year slog, consider a 2-year or certificate program for the first go-around, and finish later. The options are endless. This will be successful as long as more employers stop turning down their noses than anything less than a 4-year, and consider a combination of experience, alternative learning avenues, etc.


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Photo of Ashif Maredia

Great post! My mentor who is an engineer got his certificate and then went back finish his degree to get a PhD. Career and student advisors should let their students or the students of the university know that these options are available for them so they can continue their path towards getting an education.

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