How to Be a Bison. Chapter 1: What is Post-Secondary Education?

Welcome to your second (or third) month of Senior Year. Have you started your Common App? Have you picked your major? Have you completed FAFSA? Do you know what school you want to go to after graduation? I bet you’ve heard these questions and several others from several adults in your life. It’s pretty exhausting having to answer them every time they get a chance to pick your brain about your plans after high school. It’s okay to not know what you’re going to do. Her Campus’ Howard Chapter is here to guide you every step way of the way. Let’s start with the basics: What is a Post-Secondary Education?

A post-secondary education can be defined as the educational path that a student takes after graduating high school. There are several ways that a student can choose to further their education such as attending a vocational school, college, or university. Within these three main categories of post-secondary education, they branch out into a broader spectrum which allows students to have a plethora of options. Let’s examine a few examples of post-secondary education:


The word “college” is a common umbrella term used to describe higher education. Colleges tend to be smaller than universities and may offer fewer programs. A college may also be considered small depending on the number of students attending and the overall size of the campus.

PROS: Smaller class size,

CONS: Limited amount of programs



Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington. Courtesy of


A university is a large school made up of colleges. These schools tend to have a large variety of majors and minors, vast degree programs for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral, and clubs, organizations, Greek life, and unique societies for everyone.

PROS: Larger variety of degree programs

CONS: Higher tuition = larger debt


Howard University in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of

3. Vocational School

A vocational-- or technical-- school prepares students for a specific career. They’re able to learn the skills that are needed for their success in their career and typically enter the field in about 1-2 years.

PROS: You’re taught the specific skills for your desired career

CONS: You’re not guaranteed a job after completing the program.


  • Cosmetology

  • Certified Nursing Assistant

  • Plumbing

Courtesy of

With over 5,300 colleges and universities in the United States, you’re guaranteed to find the school that’s right for you. If school isn’t for you, you’re more than welcome to join the military, become an entrepreneur, or do whatever your heart desires!

P.S: For more information about post-secondary education check out the following links:

Type of Post-secondary Schools

Type of Colleges: The Basics