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3 months ago
Admissions Advice
[edited]

Will going to a vocational school look good when applying to college?
Answered

So I am a sophomore going into my junior year. Recently I have applied and been accepted into a vocational school to finish off my 11-12th grade years. The only issue is that at this vocational school they do not have elective because I half of the day you go to you core classes ex; English, Maths, Science, and History. And then the other half you go to your program that you have been accepted into, for me that would be biotechnology. So the vocational school does not offer electives. WIll that be a detriment to my chances of getting accepted into college. Because like on my transcript there will only be 4 classes and that not a lot.

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Accepted Answer
3 months ago

I just posted this on the UCLA community but I wanted anyone who isn't part of that community to also be able to see the answer.

This is a super great question and something I honestly haven't thought about much. And as I'm sure you've realized there isn't a whole lot of information or research available on this topic. At least in terms of vocational classes and their impact on college acceptance rates. Having said that, I'm going to try to tackle this as best as I can. This is long so the TL;DR is this: it's tough to say. I don't think it will look good in the sense that you'll get a boost for going to a vocational school but I also don't think it will look bad. You need to consider what you want in your future and decide which path will get you there.

One of the biggest things you need to consider when trying to figure out if this will look good for colleges is whether or not you will meet a colleges academic requirements for admission. I'll use UCLA as an example. On their website they mention "applicants should present an academic profile much stronger than any minimum UC admission requirements." Consider these requirements and whether or not you can meet/exceed them:

- 2 years history/social science

- 4 years of college-preparatory English

- 3 years of mathematics (4 years recommended)

- 2 years of laboratory science (3 years recommended)

- 2 years of language other than English (3 years recommended)

- 1 year of visual and performing arts (if available)

- 1 year of college-preparatory elective

Does the vocational school offer foreign language classes? Almost all schools require some form of foreign language classes and while you probably took one your freshman year and are probably taking one right now I would be concerned if you the new school doesn't offer languages. Keep in mind the minimum UCLA wants is 2 years, with 3 recommended, which really means if you want a profile "much stronger" than any minimum you should look to have 4 years. I don't say this to scare you, it's just something you need to consider. UCLA does also include this on their site if you are worried "Each application for admission is reviewed within the context of courses available to that student. If a particular required subject is not available, we’ll consider your application without it."

You also need to consider how what you learn and experience at a vocational school is going to be different than a traditional high school. In a vocational school you are typically learning about things relevant to your intended field and the skills associated with that. You are getting trained for a job essentially. I'm also unsure of what types of clubs and extracurriculars are available at vocational schools. Compare this to a high school where you are getting an education in a wide range of subjects but you aren't going to necessarily be ready to jump into the work force and your knowledge of a specific subject (like biotech) is going to be much more limited or non-existent than someone who went to a vocational school. However, you might have more chances for ECs, clubs, and expanding your academic resume.

I think you need to consider your motivations for wanting to go to a vocational school and what you want for your future. Is a 4 year degree definitely something you want to do? What about 2 years at a vocational school and then transferring to a 4 year school?

While pretty long I thought this article was pretty interesting: https://www.educationnext.org/depth-over-breadth-value-vocational-education-u-s-high-schools/. I found it to be informative and interesting but that's because this was something I'm less familiar with. That article won't help you figure out if a vocational school will look for a college but it does give you some things to think about.

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