Vocational schools can help you focus on a special interest
Many graduating seniors picture their post-high-school years on a tree-lined campus, living in a dorm and attending lectures, but that life isn't for everyone. Alternatives, for those seeking...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Many graduating seniors picture their post-high-school years on a tree-lined campus, living in a dorm and attending lectures, but that life isn't for everyone. Alternatives, for those seeking them, include art schools, online schools, military academies, career schools and vocational programs offered by community colleges.
"We see all kinds of students applying to (alternative) schools," says Leanne Hust, a counselor at Garfield High School. "Often they're kids with good grades and SAT scores, who could go anywhere but want a school where they can focus on a special interest."
Where can you learn more about such schools? Some have high profiles the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City or the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. but others require a bit more sleuthing. Start your search with your school counseling office. More places to look include:
An alternative path
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design, http://nasad.arts-accredit.org
They're all here: Cornish, the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Links take you directly to each school's Web site and let you e-mail each for more information.
Art Schools, www.artschools.com/
The plum décor may be a turnoff, but you'll find links to schools offering programs in everything from animation to shoe design. Also: lists of art scholarships and articles on going to art grad school.
"Where Are You Going?" by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
The booklet lets you scan occupations (baker, barber, watch repairer) and look up where to get training for each in Washington state. (If you want to fix watches, try North Seattle Community College.) It also gives you a sense of each field's employment outlook in the state (barbers: 79 openings a year). To order, call Diane Donahoo at 360-753-0892. Or download from www.wtb.wa.gov/publications.html
The Vocational Information Center, www.geocities.com/soarcatb/
You can look up schools by state or specialty, and check if they are accredited, meaning they meet professional standards and qualify for federal grant and loan programs.
The Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, www.hecb.wa.gov/links/colleges/collegesindex.asp . Mega-list of Washington schools, including community, technical and business colleges. The site also links to the following address:
Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, www.wtb.wa.gov/
Lists private vocational schools, from the Seattle Midwifery School to the Business Computer Training Institute in Everett.
"Peterson's Guide to Distance Learning Programs 2004," Petersons Guides, 2003. $29.95. This 1,056-page tome lists all kinds of schools that let you learn from home.
American Distance Education Consortium, www.adec.edu
A list of five dozen state universities and colleges offering students real degrees from their virtual programs.
Military and Maritime Schools
The service academies:
The Association of Military Colleges and Schools, www.amcsus.org
Run by a nonprofit organization for schools with military programs approved by the Department of Defense, this site links to the home pages of 42 military schools.
The Merchant Marine Academy, www.usmma.edu/
For folks hankering to transverse the trade routes of the seven seas, this site supplies details of the four-year program located in Kings Point, N.Y.
Seattle Maritime Academy, seattlecentral.org/maritime/
Located in Ballard; trains students to work in commercial fishing, with the Merchant Marines and on workboats; offers certificates in marine deck technology and marine engineering technology.