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Is there any schools or programs that are cheaper than college but still have the same effect of learning?


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Alison’s Answer

Hi Jacob,
One option that a lot of students choose to save money is attending a community college. Community College programs take about 2 years to complete, tuition costs an average of about $4,500 per year (although this does vary state to state), and you’ll graduate with an associate’s degree. In contrast, a year’s tuition at a typical 4 year college costs about $11,000 (although, it can be closer to $24,000 for an out of state school, or even more like $35,000 at a private university) and you’ll graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

There are a lot of things to consider when making your choice. One is what kind of degree you’ll need for your future job. If you want a hands on job like being a dental hygienist or a paralegal, an associate’s degree is all you’ll need. Often though, employers may be looking for at least a bachelor’s degree. One way to “get the best of both worlds” in that case is to complete your first two years of college at a community college, then transfer to a 4-year school for the last two years of your degree.

Another consideration that could make your education less expensive is where you choose to study. Attending a school in your state will be cheaper than attending a school in another state. Attending a school within commuting distance of your home will mean that you won’t have to pay the college the extra fees for room & board, which can save you a significant amount of money.

Do as much research into the schools that interest you as you can. Prices vary college to college, and you may find that some of them have scholarships or financial aid programs that would work well for you. College websites are the perfect place to find all of this out. I’ve also attached another resource for you below, to get you started.

Good luck with your search!

Alison recommends the following next steps:

https://www.affordablecolleges.com/rankings/community-colleges/
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Abe’s Answer

I learned more carrying the bags of established photographers in one day than I did in several years of University.

Being a photographers assistant provides invaluable on the job training and in particulary, gives you visibility of what is required to be successful. Taking good photos is only a small part of this.

Be careful on who you choose to work for, get paid and don't let any photography take advantage of you for cheap labour.

Good luck!

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Fiwany’s Answer

I attended community college before transferring into my dream school. In my opinion, community college was able to provide me with a more affordable education alongside numerous opportunities, much like a 4-year-university would. I am not a photographer, but I am interested in photography and have seen a number of photography classes offered at the college I attended. At community college, you have the option to pursue an Associate's degree, but I personally did not complete one because the college I attended did not have a specific degree program for the major I was interested in going into. Most state/city community colleges also partner with state universities and often have a guaranteed transfer program, if you are interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree, given you fulfill certain requirements such as completing a minimum of 30 credits, having a minimum GPA of 2.5, completing certain courses, etc. Note that different universities have different requirements and those are just general examples of what I have seen. If you would like to learn more about my experience, feel free to contact me.

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Jacob,

Skills is most areas, including photography, can benefit from incremental learning - learning a piece at time. It will depend on what you have to pay for these pieces. I would say if you want to focus on being a photography, look for courses that offer you a focus in a particular subset of photography, such a photo editing. An important part of being a photography is learning about the editing process. There are courses that you can take on tools like LinkedIn where you can learn about programming software like Adobe Photoshop or some general concepts about good editing. A career in Photography also benefits from getting lots of feedback on your work. That would come from being in groups where photographers interact with photographers. Here you would benefit from being in a local photography group. You learn a lot just interacting with other photographers and seeing their work. Also, as someone else mentioned, working for a photography is also a great way to learn since it is on the job and you would be seeing real world situations.

All of these things can be done without really know what you want to end up having as your major subject matter. I know several photographers who take portraits or work at weddings to make money and support their real passions such as flower photography or landscape photography. So why do I know so much about the subject? I am hoping that my future work life will include photography as a focus, so I have been doing what you are looking do - taking classes on photography and supporting other photographers to learn how they do what they do.

Gloria

Gloria recommends the following next steps:

Look at LinkedIn Learning Offerings: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/photography-foundations-composition?trk=learning-serp_learning_search-card&upsellOrderOrigin=default_guest_learning
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Udemy is another site for some general photography classes: https://www.udemy.com/course/photography-masterclass-complete-guide-to-photography/
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EJ’s Answer

Depends on what you are interested in.
Medicine, engineering, law are professions that require college.
Please note that I am not a photographer. However, I have a friend who learned much of his art outside the walls of academia. He does very well for himself, and appears to always have many clienteles.

From his experience, he went into the subject as a hobby. Just surfing the web, and learning from other people in the profession. After a few years, the hobby became a source of income, and he now is planning to transition from his corporate job to explore photography full time.

Best way to find out will be speaking to people who are in the field that you’re interested. They can give you some inside tips. For example, you can be a certified pharmacy technician without going to school. Many retail pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid will provide study materials, and guide you how to get licensed while you’re working. As long as you pass the board exam to be a pharmacy technician, it doesn’t matter whether you go to school or not.

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Hassan’s Answer

It comes down to what career you want to pursue. There are good programs for a variety of jobs like Auto Mechanic, Electrician, or Dental Hygienist that get you ready for a career in that field.

However, I'm not sure which alternative learning programs that will equal the value of a college degree over a lifetime. If you google it, you'll find sites like https://www.forbes.com/sites/dereknewton/2018/10/01/college-graduates-are-177-times-more-likely-to-earn-4-million-or-more/ that say on average college graduate earn hundreds of thousand $s more than High School graduates over their lifetimes.

Depending on your ambitions you may find that not having a degree will limit your career mobility. So think long term and aim high.

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