Career Directions

4 year college

Who should consider going to a four-year college or university? For a career seeker who wants to explore different interests or wants to build a professional skill set beyond a certification, a 4-year program is often the right fit. College students select a particular focus area, called a “major,” in which they earn their degree. There are hundreds of majors at a college or university. College students often have access to great opportunities that come from the network of alumni and internship experiences. If you are someone who sees yourself pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, a 4-year college or university is definitely a good place to start.

Financial commitment

The average annual cost of tuition ranges widely. College can cost as little as $9,000 and as much as $32,000+ per year. There are many scholarships, grants, and loans that are available to upcoming college students. Check out this tool to determine varying costs of 4 year colleges, and check here about different ways to pay for college.

Time commitment

A bachelor’s degree takes about four years to complete. Many students take a longer time to complete their degree. Generally, students must complete 40 courses to earn their degree. Depending on your availability, other commitments, and ability to pay, you may choose to attend classes full-time or part-time. Colleges also often have online courses and evening classes.


4-year colleges and universities typically offer on and off campus housing options, as well as permit students to commute. Depending on your current living situation, attending a college close to home can help to save money on housing while completing your degree. If you choose to live on campus, colleges usually have dorm rooms or suites in which you stay and a selection of on-campus cafeterias and eateries. On-campus students usually select a meal plan as part of their housing package.

Required Education

Depending on your course of study, college entrance requirements vary. Typically, you are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. Some colleges and universities require applicants to take the SAT or ACT tests. After you have researched and identified schools that you are interested in, check out their requirements. It is advised that you apply to several schools with a range of requirements, so that you have options. Sometimes, students who do not get in right away are put on a waitlist or encouraged to apply again. Don’t give up! There are plenty of paths to a 4-year degree, including starting out at community college!

Are you a current or future first-generation college student? It can be hard for students and their families to navigate this time in your life if your parents or guardians did go to college. Visit The Jed Foundation’s Set to Go website for tips!

Career Opportunities

Obtaining a 4-year degree opens up many opportunities. Internships in your field of study, part time work, volunteer work, and job history, will make your college degree even more attractive to employers. After graduation, the next step is often an entry-level position in your chosen profession. Find out the expected salary range for professionals with a 4-year degree in your chosen profession using this Career Calculator.

4 Year Colleges in Lancaster Area

Millersville University

Elizabethtown University

Franklin & Marshal

Lebanon Valley College

Lancaster Theological Seminary

Eastern Mennonite University

Lancaster Bible College

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Central Penn College

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