Looking for the best school for you? It’s complicated.

2012-09-15T13:49:00Z Looking for the best school for you? It’s complicated.By Jane Bokun Special Sections Contributor
September 15, 2012 1:49 pm  • 

Unlocking the right door for education is not always easy.

Questions like “Will I be happy?” and most important, “Is there adequate training” are always popping up. It’s safe to say, there are many factors to weigh when attempting to make such an important decision regarding education.

First, it’s important to ask questions about a new school such as: what is the school’s philosophy, tuition, programs, years of operation, testing and latest technology. Review a perspective school’s awards, ranking, scholarship opportunities and open houses on their website to help with your decision.

In Northwest Indiana, it’s fortunate that area schools are making student’s decisions much easier. Schools such as Indiana University Northwest are known for a wide variety of concentrations like a well known program for fine and performing arts. “We have a very popular fine arts program and a national, and internationally renowned faculty,” says Chris Sheid, director of public relations. For example, he says, Neil Goodman, who is a sculptor on staff, works throughout the Region. “Our fine arts students are able to learn from practicing artists,” Sheid explains. “Graduates are employable across a range of industries.”One of the most important aspects of attending this commuter college, according to Dr. Georj Lewis, vice chancellor of IUN, is its unique ability to be both cost effective and geographically desirable.

“Students are looking at a good quality education, here, you have the prestige of an Indiana University degree at a cost you can manage,” Lewis says.

Best of all, as he says, is the fact that students can still get involved in a wide variety of extra curricular activities. IUN has a comprehensive performing arts program with an Arts-On-Grant studio that is one mile from the main campus, along with the Black Box Theater and Theater Northwest. The school also is known for health and human services and its burgeoning pre-med studies.

“We have the Indiana University School of Medicine right on campus,” Sheid says.

At the College of Health and Human Services, students will find nursing, social work, radiologic sciences and public and environmental affairs. There also are criminal justice and public interest programs. “Medical school allows us to create a team learning experience for students from different disciplines,” Sheid says. “We have a number of pre-med students who come here to participate in research programs and more.”

At South Suburban College (SSC), the story is very much the same. Here, there is an emphasis on business, legal and health programs and pharmacy techs. “Our programs give students a greater understanding,” says Patrick Rush, public relations director for SSC. South Suburban is known for career programs including an emphasis on legal and health studies. There are classes for paralegal studies, court reporting, criminal justice, nursing radiology, pharmacy tech and more. Students can get a highly marketable degree,” Rush says.

The average age of students here is 30 years old who are attending college on a part-time basis and looking to return to a second career.

If those students have some trepidation about the enrollment process, Rush says, they shouldn’t. “We have an open access policy and walk students through the process of enrollment,” he explains. “They need to first get in and matriculate through their time here and be successful. There are a wide range of opportunities.” Proximity to students’ homes also is important. South Suburban, which is located in Illinois, is within a half hour drive from Lake County.

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