1. lothelion
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    lothelion New Member

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    A non US resident asking for help about the College system.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by lothelion, Jun 24, 2015.

    To my relief, I recently found this website/forum, when I searched for information for my ongoing piece Im writing now. I hope this is the right category to post this in , because I really need help with this.
    Although Im bilingual and English is my second language - Im not a US resident, so Im not sure really how the US collage/University works.

    My protagonist is thought to be a Sophomore in a US Collage and I have some idea of how it works but It would really help me if someone could explain how it works regarding, age, how many years, majors, subjects and... yeah. Just in General. An important part of the plot is him/her studying psychology.

    I really hope someone can help me with this. ( Ironically, I have dyslexia so that would explain any misspellings, just putting it out there.. :) )
     
  2. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    So at the age of 18, you graduate high-school (a period of four year - Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, then Senior year (in ascending order)).

    You can either go to a local community college (spelled with an e by the way) or a University.

    At a community college, the highest degree you can get is an Associates Degree, which is usually earned over a period of 2 years. There's also a Bachelors (4 years), Masters (8 years), or a Doctorate (a doctor, and the time is usually 8 years, give or take. Depends) If your main character is in psychology, is he/she going to be a doctor?

    A lot of people go straight from high-school to University, and enroll as Freshmen into a University. Different universities have different programs, and levels of degrees that they offer. A lot of people have to go to a University for the first four years, then transfer to somewhere else if they're getting a doctorate.

    The majors, subjects, and all of that also depends on the University that your character is going to.

    Any other questions?
     
  3. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    Collages here are usually made with newspaper clippings, paint, ribbons etc. How is your protagonist inside a collage? Is he part of an art piece of some sort?

    I think you mean College or University
     
  4. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Don't be rudeeee. He apologized for his misspellings, and this isn't his first language anyways.
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, he spelled college correctly in the topic title. So he obviously knows how to spell it. It was a simple typo.


    Back to the question, I went to a community college and got a two year degree. So I can't help much if your character is at a university. :p However I did work at a student-run newspaper, which was awesome, and was on the board of student activities. But other than that, I'm not much help. lol
     
  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Not entirely true. The difference between a college and an university is that a university offers grad classes. (@lothelion, a student studying to get his PhD is a graduate student. Everyone else is an undergrad.) A BA is necessary to get your doctorate, and most universities frown on enrolling students for successive degrees, so that's the reason it goes like that.
     
  7. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    I don't mean to be mean but it's "college" not "collage." Collage is something else.

    You can get into a college or university in more than one way. Mostly it's by getting good grades either from high school or community college. Then you have to find the money to pay for it (classes, textbooks, and cost of living) which can cost a lot of the time up to a yearly salary. There are also things called scholarships where people or organizations will pay you to go to college or university because you have a good academic track record.

    Once you're in, you have to find means to survive and either live in an apartment or one of the dorms (college-provided housing only for students) and you may need to find a part-time job while you're going to classes in case you need extra money; or of course get more from your parents or whatever guardian you have.

    Anyone of any age can be in college. There are thirteen year olds who graduate with a bachelor's degree and there are also eighty-five year olds. But mostly colleges are populated with the 18-24 age group as that is when people just get out of high school and haven't entered into the professional workforce yet.

    There are so many majors you can practically get any kind you want. If it's not even there, they can create one for you, I've heard. If it helps, you can look up "most highest paying majors" to get an idea of what is out there and to see which are the most popular.

    The biggest thing about college, however, is the massive debt you'll be tacked with whether or not you finish (unless you get a scholarship which in that case it's already paid for). Maybe this can loom over your character when they're deciding to either go to a party with the person they have a crush on or instead stay inside and study for the test that's the next day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  8. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    Actually, that was an edit. I read the original title.
     
  9. lothelion
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    lothelion New Member

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    Hmm. Okey, I think I get it. The reason why I need help understanding is that here in Europe, at least overall I think, our system is different. Lets say that I want to become a doctor. Right after high school finishes, you apply for what I would say is University here, except that it is called something else. So let's say to become a doctor you simply apply with your grades from highschool and your score from a certain test most people take (its optional but it helps a lot if you take it and of course, get a high score). Logically, the higher the grade and score from the test - the better the chances are to be offered a place. Then its a full-on 7 years, I think, until you graduate.
    As for the financial - the school is free, but food etc doesn't pay for itself so the majority takes loans but whatever thats another story.

    The reason I explain this is to see what the difference is.

    So let's say my protagonist wants to become a psychologist - Im guessing she is going to a University , not College? Does that require a doctorate/masters or how would it work?

    And are the stages the same ? (freshman, etc. )

    As for the spelling, I repeat, I have dyslexia. And I am a female, but thanks for understanding and for all the help (Y)!
     
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  10. lothelion
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    lothelion New Member

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    Now when I think of it, the test I am talking about would kind of be like the SAT's.
     
  11. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    No problem. You could also perform a google search for psychology programs and you'll see various colleges with the information you're seeking. Your character would need to get a Ph.D in psychology. It takes about 7 years to earn the degree. Yes, that's a doctorate degree.
     
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  12. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    After a four year undergrad degree. And the seven years is all just the classes, once you get in to writing your dissertation that can take another 2 to 5 years. I think my dad worked on his dissertation for 3 years and that was pretty average.
     
  13. lothelion
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    lothelion New Member

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    The four year undergrad degree, is that taken in a college or in a university? And then transfer to the seven year?
     
  14. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    All universities offer four year degrees as well, but it's very unusual (I would actually say unheard of) to get your undergrad and your doctorate from the same institution. So your character would have gone to a four year school to get her Bachelor of Science (BS), and then applied to a graduate program at another institution to get their PhD.
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum. :)

    Either one. Or two different universities. My son got his masters in 5 years, 4 at one university and the master's at another.

    I got my masters in three periods over 7 years. Three in a college where I had to wait a year to get in a program so I took classes while I waited. Worked and traveled for a while. Then two more to get a BSN at a university, took another year off then finished a master's at the same university in a bit less than 2 years.

    My degree is heavy in clinical practice and that requires a lot more than just classes. A psychology major might have some clinical as well.

    Take a look at any university psychology program to see what they tell students:

    U of WA undergraduate degree in psychology, information for prospective students
    U of WA masters in psychology, student FAQs
     
  16. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    If not clinical than at least lab time.

    @lothelion a grad student would probably have a lot of research time on their requirements. Depending on what they wanted to do, that would mean either lab work with the PhD faculty, or clinic hours at a local hospital.
     
  17. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Institutions of higher education are organized like this:

    university > college* > department > program

    A university is a very big, rather loosely organized organization. It does many things, including education of tuition-paying students, research, organizing cultural events and public forums, managing libraries and often museums (which are open to the public), partnering with nonprofit organizations for charity work, etc.

    A college is an organization dedicated to educating students. (It might also do research, organize cultural events, etc., but those are secondary to teaching.) Some colleges are part of a university; other colleges operate independently. For example:

    UCLA is your typical big American public university that does all kinds of things, including teaching. There are several colleges within UCLA, including the broadly liberal-arts-focused College of Letters and Science as well as specialized colleges like the School of the Arts and Architecture and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

    There are also colleges that are not a part of any university. Some of them (e.g. Amherst College) are liberal arts colleges which try to give their students a broad knowledge base (while still letting them major in one of a variety of specific subjects). Other colleges (e.g. the Olin College of Engineering) are more focused on something specific, like engineering or performing arts or vocational skills.

    A college is divided into several departments, each of which is responsible for one subject (or a few). For example, the College of Engineering and Computer Science that I attend right now (which happens to be part of a university) is divided into the department of computer science, the department of civil and environmental engineering, the department of mechanical and materials engineering, and others.

    And finally, we say a department offers a program. Some programs are degree programs -- when you complete the program, you earn a degree. For example, the department of civil and environmental engineering at my school offers a degree in civil engineering and a degree in environmental engineering. They also offer a program called a "minor in environmental engineering" -- if you complete this program at the same time that you earn a degree in something other than environmental engineering (e.g. mechanical engineering), then on your degree, it will say you majored in mechanical engineering and minored in environmental engineering.

    That is the basic structure of higher education in the US.

    * The difficult thing to explain is what the word "college" means. I have been using it in the technical sense of the word. However, in conversation, the sentences "I am going to college" and "I am a college student" basically mean "I am taking classes in order to get an undergraduate degree." The two main types of undergraduate degree are an associate's degree (which takes a year or two to earn) and a bachelor's degree (which is designed to take 4 years to earn, but some people take more or less time, depending on how many classes they take at once, whether they take summer classes, whether they fail any classes, whether they took classes in high school that let them skip certain college classes, etc.)

    The confusing thing is that you can technically be a student at a college without being a "college student". For example, my college offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Other colleges only offer undergraduate degrees.

    To tie this all together:
    She needs to get an undergraduate degree and then a graduate degree. Here is what a typical psychology student might do:

    - Get a bachelor's degree from either a liberal arts college or a college within a university that bears a name like "College of Letters and Sciences" or "College of Liberal Arts and Sciences". Most likely, she would get a degree in psychology, but it is not uncommon for people to major in subjects like history or philosophy before studying psychology in graduate school. (In fact, it is extremely common to major in one subject as an undergraduate and then study a different subject in grad school.)

    - Get a master's degree in psychology, a PhD in psychology, or a doctor of psychology degree (Psy.D.). This would come from a university, specifically, either a broadly focused "College of Letters and Sciences" or a more specific college of psychology within that university.
     
  18. lothelion
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    lothelion New Member

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    Thank you SO much for this! Think I get the picture now. Really appreciate it!
    Its for my journalism class, an assignment were we have to write a short story, or more like a novel actually, in our second language. Again, thanks for all the help!!
     
  19. AmericanAmelie
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    AmericanAmelie New Member

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    Also to add about universities, they have public clinics for students to work on the outside as apart of their study. Like phychology students would be doing work in a clinic (as any medical student). The medical clinics also do research studies on public voluneteers. These university clinics are very cost effective, even free, ways for the public to receive health care. A university phychology clinic would pair the client up with a student and the student would receive a variety of people to see - children, couples, studying volunteers for a new form of medication, etc.

    While getting a degree for any college or university will be very expensive, there are always a variety of loans available for one to take out. Grad students are either living on the loans or they are working. Foreign students in America are NOT allowed to work while here on the student visa. A lot of countries have loans and scholarships for students who are going to study in the USA. That isn't to say there aren't many foreign students working ilegally off the books jobs like baby sitting, house keeping, food stand serving, etc, but it is grounds for deportation if they get caught.
     

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