Know Your Options: Four-Year Degrees

By Maci England on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Madison Ogle

Samantha Barrera

Age: 20 | Hometown: Little Rock
High School: Little Rock Hall STEAM Magnet
Higher Education: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Working toward: Bachelor’s degree in mass communications

For Samantha Barrera, choosing to attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was an easy decision. She enjoyed the hands-on curriculum she would receive for her major and liked that it was close to home. She also received a large scholarship that made attending affordable.

This option is for you if:
• You want more career opportunities
• You want the traditional college experience
• Your career plans also require a graduate degree

Samantha is a mass communications major who dreams of having a career in broadcasting. She enjoys editing videos and writing and wants to one day create her own film.

“I hope that through my education I can improve my editing and writing skills,” Samantha said. “My major focuses a lot on visuals, I want to be able to edit something visually pleasing with an interesting story.”

Not only is Samantha getting to earn experience in her declared major, going the traditional four-year degree path means she also gets to choose electives and take classes in other subjects. Having a wide variety of subjects means she gets to explore courses in careers she would have never thought of before while learning skills she can use in the future.

“The classes are great and the professors make you want to come to class,” Samantha said. “If I wasn’t on my four-year degree track, I wouldn’t have realized how much I like geology or even art history.”

Samantha wants high school students thinking about their futures to know that there isn’t just one path to success.

“Opportunities don’t just end with college,” Samantha said. “There are multiple ways a student can still be successful, whether your career just requires certification or you just need an associate degree. College is for everyone, especially if you want to learn. It’s never too late to attend college.”

What You Need to Know

Length of Program
Four years, although there are ways to finish early (through AP credit, dual credit or summer courses) or to slow it down for easier workload.

The average yearly cost of in-state tuition, plus room and board for a public university in Arkansas was $18,262 for 2022-2023. Of course, private college tuition and fees tend to be more expensive. However, both private and public schools offer a great mix of financial aid and scholarships to offset costs.

Admissions Requirements
Most four-year colleges require a high school diploma and have a minimum GPA and ACT requirement. However, with the pandemic causing many tests to be canceled or rescheduled, there may be an optional ACT/SAT testing policy in place at the schools you’re considering.

On-campus housing like dorms and apartments are typically available.