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The Internet is a great way to start your search for a college or continue a career search. Many universities have Internet sites that provide information about their academic programs, costs and requirements. Additionally, these sites sometimes contain pictorial tours of the campus so you can see what it looks like. By surfing through a university's site, you can get a feel of what goes on there as well as what type of computing resources they have. There are also great references on the Internet that can help you make career choices in addition to picking a college or university.
To begin our search, let's check out Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com/), probably the best index on the Internet. Click on the Education section and then the Universities link; you will be brought to a global list of countries. Select the country you are interested in. Clicking on United States brings up a list of Universities and Colleges (www.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/United_States/Education/Universities/) which have Internet sites. For our sake, let's look at a local university. Scroll down and select Canisius. This will take you to the homepage for Canisius College (http://www.canisius.edu). This page contains links to useful information about the college. For example, you can look at the Admissions statistics or take a visual tour of the campus. There are also campus directories and publications on-line. As you would suspect, there is also a great deal of computer and Internet information at the site including links to academic departments, information a bout the Golden Griffins' sports teams and more.
Other local universities also have an Internet presence. The University at Buffalo was a pioneer with its UBWings (http://www.buffalo.edu) Internet site. In addition to information about academic programs, departments and extracurricular activities, UB has also incorporated academic schedules and registration into the easy to use UBWings interface. You can also search for home pages of faculty, staff or students at the university. Many other local schools also have Internet sites, including: Buffalo State College (http://www.snybuf.edu), Erie Community College (http://www.sunyerie.edu), University of Rochester ( http://www.rochester.edu), Rochester Institute of Technology (http://www.rit.edu), Alfred University (http://www.alfred.edu), and Syracuse University (http://www.syr.edu ).
By searching through different Internet sites, you can compare universities, getting a feel for what the particular institution is about, what it looks like, and what type of qualifications you need to enroll. You can see what types of materials you'll be studying in your course work by viewing information about academic departments. And you can do all this from your personal computer, without leaving home or without making costly trips to out of town schools. I know we'd all like to visit Hawaii Pacific University (http://www.hpu.edu) or Oxford University (http://www.ox.ac.uk) in England, but most of us can't afford to fly there for a weekend tour of the campus.
Another great resource for comparing colleges is Peterson's Education Center (http://www.petersons.com/). Well known for its guides to higher education, Peterson's has made much of this information available on-line and has provided great indices. For example, you can search for schools based on degree type, geographic location, even on religious affiliation.
Maybe your son or daughter doesn't want to go to college. How about a vocational school? Check out Yahoo's index of vocational schools ( http://www.yahoo.com/Education/Vocational_Colleges). Perhaps you have a budding chef in the family; check the New England Culinary Institute ( http://www.genghis.com/culinary/neci.htm). If you're interested in a career as a tradesman, check out the Vermont Technical College (http://www.vtc.vsc.edu) or other fine vocational schools on the Internet.
Of course, now that you've decided where to send your son or daughter for further schooling, you have to worry about paying for it. For a helpful guide with ideas on how to pay for college, check out the Nellie Mae Loan Link (http://www2.nelliemae.org/nellie/mae/whereBegin.html). This information packed link explains some of the options available to parents looking to finance the education of a loved one. You might also want to look at the site provided by the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (http://www.tgslc.org/) which has information on careers, colleges, and financial aid.
What if you already have a job but are looking for something else? For those adults looking for a career change, the Internet is a great place to begin. Take a look at the Buffalo Freenet's Business and Employment Center for helpful links (http://bfn.org/business/). Another starting point for career changers is the career center of your favorite university. For example, the University at Buffalo's Career Planning and Placement Office (http://wings.buffalo.edu/employment/career/) has an extensive site dedicated to helping students find jobs. It also has links to different occupations and fields of study. From here you can jump to the informative Catapult on Job Web site (http://www.jobweb.org/catapult/catapult.htm). This site has links to employment centers, colleges and universities, professional associations, and information on how to choose a career.
Whatever path you choose, we think that you'll be able to save time and money in your search for a college or career by using the Internet. Remember, we'd like to make this column interesting and useful for you. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we're doing. You can email us, email@example.com , or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and let us know what's happening on the Internet in WNY or any computing related activities you're involved with.