College is several year educational program that ends with a diploma and, usually, a job.

Most US college students pursue a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BS (Bachelor of Science); this generally takes four years of full-time study. Many pursue a shorter AA (Associate of Arts) program, generally at a community college.

Some colleges are residential (you live on campus), and others are commuter (you live at home). Some are campus-based, some are online, and a growing number are a hybrid of the two. Some are public (subsidized by the state, their tuitions are lower for in-state applicants), and some are private.

While commentators note that many college graduates are unemployed or underemployed 6-months or a year out of school, the earnings gap between those who have finished college and those who have not attended college is now $800,000 and growing.

That said, every college has different costs, admissions requirements, graduation rates, and financial outcomes. And even within a school, your family income, academic and athletic profiles, and even choice of major will affect your costs and post-graduation outcomes. This is an important decision; take your time.

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