Based on recent studies, San Jose, California has become the sixth most desirable city among job seekers for four main reasons. One, the job market is highly favorable and vibrant. Two, job security and advancement opportunities are more stable compared to many other major cities. Three, the salary is more than commensurate to the cost of living and four, the average employee in San Jose is satisfied with work and life balance. In addition, the East Bay has seen an incredible job surge propelled mainly by the lower cost of running a business compared to San Francisco. The average annual salary in San Jose is $78,620 which is much higher than the national median of $44,148. The industries in San Jose with the best job market portfolio are technical, scientific, and professional services.
The fastest growing industries for job seekers include administrative support, construction, health care, hospitality, and technology. However, students are generally advised to acquire special skills to augment their portfolio in order to increase their chances of landing a lucrative position. A few of these special skills include written communications, leadership, strong work ethics, ability to work with a team, adaptability, technical and computer, problem solving and quantitative skills.
Living and studying in San Jose is a rewarding and fulfilling choice not just because San Jose is famous for being the home of the country’s high-tech region, Silicon Valley but also because the area has a delightful mix of quirky, diverse, and advanced approach to work and life.
About 26 minutes from San Jose is Stanford University which has an estimated student population of 16,980. As one of California’s highly reputable research and education, it only accepts one in 21 applicants or 5% acceptance rate. Stanford is a NCAA Division 1 school known for outstanding academics, student diversity, and party scene. Based on Niche rankings, it is number one in best colleges, best value colleges, and best colleges for studying biology for the year 2017.
Acceptance to Stanford is based on high school performance and SAT scores but also rely on recommendations and college prep courses. According to 96% of Stanford students the application process is highly individualized and personal. As a private, for-profit school the tuition to study in Stanford is higher than the national average by approximately $2,000 or $17,952 net per year after financial aid. More importantly, most Stanford graduates are confident about getting their dream job if not a job because of the stature of a Stanford education. Based on past studies, the average income of a Stanford graduate six years after graduating is almost $81,000 with most graduates finding gainful employment within two years after graduation.
Stanford University has a Financial Aid office that processes all financial aid packages including scholarships and grants. The school has a university scholarship which are funded mostly by private individuals or companies and are based on financial need. There are federal and state grants also based on financial need and FAFSA information. Students are also encouraged to seek local employment either on or off campus, apply for outside scholarships or apply for a student loan. About 70% of Stanford undergraduates qualify for financial aid including athletic scholarships. In 2016, the school approved an average of $13,600 to 47% undergraduates. These scholarships and grants are mainly reserved for American citizens although international students may apply if they have a taxpayer identification number or Social Security number. Furthermore, international students can only apply for scholarships on their first year prior to admission unless they become US citizens while in Stanford.
The most popular degrees in Stanford are:
• Biology – Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stanford teaches a broad-based program and includes general science and math subjects in the first two years followed by courses in molecular, development/cell, organismal and evolution and ecology. Students will also take electives from Hopkins Marine Station, Human Biology, and an out-of-department list.
• Computer Science – The Stanford CS degree program was launched in 1965 and has earned the reputation for being one of the best in the country. As a CS student, you will have access to state-of-the-art hardware and computer laboratories as well as multiple systems for a well-rounded instruction on computer systems. Aside from learning the foundations of computer science, undergraduates are also taught abstraction, theory, design, implementation, mathematical and programming techniques, architecture, algorithm analysis, applications, and artificial intelligence.
Graduates of Stanford CS have an edge in the job market and can successfully work as software developers, software engineers, IT support, games developer, web designer, UX analyst, or programmer.
• Engineering – Under the College of Engineering in Stanford, there are eight inter-department minors and nine department majors. You can choose Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Management Science and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Environmental Systems Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Atmosphere and Energy, Biomechanical Engineering, Architectural Design, Engineering Physics, Biomedical Computation, Product Design, and Energy Resources Engineering. One of the highlights of a Stanford engineering student is the annual job fair that brings in more than 125 top companies with job openings –full time, part time, internship, summer program, or co-op. The acceptance rate to the Stanford School of Engineering in 2016 was 15.40%. According to U.S. News, the School of Engineering is ranked second among top engineering schools in the country.
San Jose State University
Founded in 1857, San Jose State University (SJSU) is nestled in a 154-acre campus and is ranked 6th among public schools and 33rd among regional universities in the country. It is also the first college to establish a cyber security center. This public institution has an undergraduate population of over 26,800 with over 350 student organizations and athletic squads. SJSU is a member of the NCAA Division I conference. Many of the professionals who work in Silicon Valley are graduates of SJSU. The university has a reputation for developing excellent minds in the field of art, education, social work, healthcare, and mass media. The school has a total of 145 degrees in 11 fields and 108 more specific areas of concentration to choose from. Application to SJSU is strict. The school adheres to a strict November 30 application deadline while SAT or ACT scores must be submitted on or before December 22. The selection process is intensive and very selective with a 55% acceptance rate.
Around 54% of all SJSU students have some form of financial aid and the average scholarship grant for incoming freshmen is $8.994. The final aid amount will depend on income level. There are 3 types of scholarship and grant aid available to incoming freshmen: federal, state, and university scholarships. Last year 35% of incoming freshmen were given federal aid, 22% got state grants, and 43% were awarded university scholarships. Most scholarships in SJSU are for U.S. citizens and are categorized as campus-based, department-based, or private-based. There are a few, highly competitive scholarship options for foreign students that are mostly merit-based.
To be eligible for federal aid, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid the answers which will be used to form the basis of the financial package, if approved. Department-based scholarships have their own set of criteria and deadlines and SJSU students are encouraged to approach their respective departments for the information. The school also encourages students to search for scholarships using their Resources although advise students that these are private-based scholarships that have corresponding service fees if the scholarship application is approved.
The top courses in SJSU are:
• Business Administration & Management – Learn how to be an entrepreneur or top manager in today’s global work environment. The first two years focuses on core business concepts while the last two years will train the student on specific specialties such as economics, management, accounting, entrepreneurship, global operations, marketing, information systems, international business, human resources, analytics, finance, or corporate finances.
• Psychology – The university offers BA, BS or Clinical Psychology degrees for undergraduates. These courses are ideal for students who wish to be involved in human resources, forensics, therapy, teachers, guidance counselors, or pursue a career in medicine
• BA Arts minor in Studio Arts – This course is very popular because its approach is to train artists how to use their talents and skills in the global market as an individual. The trend in today’s art circles continues to be individual expression coupled with marketability whether it be in the areas of digital art or photography. This course offers a myriad of classes that include glassblowing, jewelry design and crafting, metalsmithing, art history, or video art. Graduates have a huge job market waiting for them and will not limit them to their state or country but open opportunities to work in other countries as well.
• Education – The school offers several specialty fields in education such as special education, leadership, teacher education, and communicative disorders and sciences. As an educator, you can become a teacher, librarian (with additional schooling), editor, writer, manager, textbook sales and marketing, instructional coordinator, training and development, and adult literacy teacher.
• Communication and Media – SJSU offers BA communication degree courses under their College of Social Sciences including major in information age or teaching. One of the most popular jobs in the market today is related to public relations and a communications graduate is an ideal fit. You can work in nonprofit, for profit, government, or be a business owner with this course as your foundation. You can also develop and train for additional skills to be eligible for advanced positions with higher income.
Branded as a “creative arts” college, Cogswell College offers innovative and highly advanced courses in the field of digital arts, technology and entrepreneurship. This 130-year old private college in North San Jose was founded as Cogswell Polytechnical College by Dr. Henry Cogswell as a charitable trust with the aim of focusing on technical training. Cogswell uses project-based education and have a reputation for graduates with excellent soft and hard skills for today’s fast-paced industries. Application to Cogswell College includes written tests in English and Math, interview with an advisor, written essay, submission of application form, supporting documents, and a portfolio. All applications with complete requirements are typical responded to within two weeks.
Cogswell has a Financial Aid Office that is willing to help every student meet all financial academic obligations with flexible aid packages. Aside from a financial aid package, students can also avail of merit-based scholarships or grants. Eligibility for scholarships are based on grade point averages, test scores, portfolios, and skill rating for athletes. All scholarships cover tuition only and require a minimum 3.0 grade point average. As for grants, there are 8 types available: income-based Federal Pell, needs-based Federal Supplemental Educational opportunity Grant, Cal Grant A or B, Cal Grant A or B Entitlement, and Cal Grant A or B Competitive.
One of the advantages of studying in Cogswell is the opportunity for graduates to return for refresher courses at a reduced rate. For more information on the financials, contact the school’s Financial Aid office.
The top courses in Cogswell are:
• Game Design and Development – Graduates of this course will not only be adept at video game design, development, and game design engineering, they will also have specialized skills in information technology, artificial intelligence, 3D modeling, programming and the use of tools such as python, Maya, Unreal Engine, and Unity. You will be eligible for jobs related to consultant, developer, design, project manager for IT-related jobs, game production, simulation projects. multimedia system designer, component integrator, and programmer.
• Engineering – The engineering course teaches software systems programming and design which prepares you to work in the IT industry, space technology, or medicine. Students learns to interface theory with practical engineering experience under the guidance of educators and industry leaders from NASA and the IT industry. Graduates will have real and relevant training that will equip them to enter the workforce with sufficient skills and knowledge to be highly adept and sought after by top companies. Some of their courses include Java, C, Advance C++, Linux, HTML 5, and mobile programming, Scripting, and Algorithms.
• Digital Audio Technology – Under this degree, students choose between two programs: audio and music production or audio software development and engineering. Both programs introduce and train students with cutting-edge audio technology tools used by topnotch production companies around the world.
University of Phoenix – Bay Area Campus
The University of Phoenix (UoP), Bay Area Campus is about 26 minutes from San Jose. The school was founded in 1976 and offers associate, certificate, bachelor, master’s, and doctoral programs. They offer ground campus education or a highly advanced online program. The school’s philosophy is based on real-world education so that graduates can immediately integrate themselves into the work force seamlessly. The school also believes in education for all which is why they do not require applicants to submit essays or undergo an entrance exam. A few of the advantages students have at the University of Phoenix include the massive ebook library, simulations and virtual organizations, an interactive career portal, and mobile apps for virtual students to participate in classes in real-time.
To apply for an undergraduate degree with UoP, you have to be at least 16 years old, with a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and depending on your degree choice you must have some level of work experience or access to an organization relevant to your degree. Lastly, you must not have a record of expulsion from any other school. However, if you have college credits or work-related education, you may request to use them against required UoP college credits.
UoP offers university scholarships and is open to third party private scholarships. They encourage students to apply for scholarships rather than request for financial aid. UoP scholarships though are very competitive and the criteria is strictly followed. Thus, avoid applying for scholarships that you are not qualified for as your application will be dismissed outright. On the other hand, if you can get nominated for a scholarship (even if you do not personally know the person or organization nominating you), you stand a better chance of being considered. One of the most popular degrees in UoP is BS in Business which is also available as an online course. This degree has been ranked top 6 Best Value School for business majors. The other popular programs in UoP are:
• Criminal Justice Administration - This course will teach you the policies and systems of the different courts from juvenile to justice. It covers administrative duties and responsibilities and teaches leadership and law enforcement skills. Graduates of this course go on to handle small to large groups in law enforcement, the criminal justice system, crisis management, mental health administration, risk assessment, and justice analysis. Fresh graduates usually start as investigators and climb their way up supervisory and management positions. It is also possible for graduates to continue on to law or paralegal studies.
• Nursing – Based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses are in the highest demand ever and is expected to continue growing by 16% up to 2024. The American Nurses Association claim that the number of nurses that will be needed in 5 year’s time will be an additional 1.13 million because of the changing health environment, aging population, economic conditions, and changes in the healthcare industry. The RN or BSN programs of UoP have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It is open to working individuals or full time students. The program covers clinical judgment and critical thinking, management of health care resources, and soft leadership skills aside from key insights and training on the current healthcare industry. As far as nursing specialty skills are concerned, the following specialties are considered top priority: dialysis care, intensive care, emergency room, neonatal, and operating room. Signing bonuses are also being offered to top graduates while the average wage of a nurse is steadily increasing.
• Information Technology – Information Technology continues to be a highly competitive field although there is a need to equip oneself with advanced IT skills. The UoP offers several bachelor’s degrees: BS in IT, BS in IT with certificate for Advanced Cyber Security, BS IT with certificate as Advanced Software Developer, BS IT with certificate in Advanced Networking, and BS IT with Associate of Arts minor in Information Technology. Graduates of IT degree courses have a higher percentage of landing a good job as computer and information sciences remain part of the top 5 jobs in the country. Graduates also have better chances as an entrepreneur especially in the field of cyber security and software development. The world is fast becoming fully digital so IT graduates are unique in that they can apply in any industry of their choosing which makes these programs one of the most versatile of all.
• Security Management – UoP offers five bachelor’s degree programs in Security Management: BS in Security Management or choice of BS Security Management major in Physical Security Operations, Critical Incidence Response, Enterprise Security, or Advanced Cyber Security. The main responsibilities of a Security Manager is to detect threats before they become a problem, prevent fraud, and minimize risks and vulnerabilities. Any one of these degrees will also qualify you to set up your own business in an industry that is bursting from demand. It is also a career choice that can take you to other countries as the demand is global.
Sta. Clara University (SCU)
Just 11 minutes from San Jose is Sta. Clara University, a private Jesuit school in Silicon Valley. It has more than 5,400 undergraduate students and was founded way back in 1851. It prides on having a tech-centric campus with a 12:1 student to faculty ratio. To be considered for Sta. Clara University, applicants must have an SAT score of at least 1210 and ACT range of 27 to 32. The school has a 47% acceptance rate.
Sta. Clara has an average annual tuition fee of over $63,000 although 75% qualify for financial aid. The school also offers scholarships and grants like the Johnson Scholarship merit-based award which is renewable for 12 consecutive terms under specific conditions, the Presidential at Entry Scholarship which can only be applied for by incoming freshmen, merit-based Provost Scholarship which covers half the tuition for 12 consecutive terms, the need-based Jesuit Ignatian Award, need-based SCU Grant, SCU Incentive Grant, Alumni Family Scholars Program, SCU Third Child Grant, National Merit Scholarship, and department grants for music, theater and dance, and military science. Aside from school scholarships and grants, students can also apply for federal and state grants and private sponsorships.
The top majors are:
• Finance – This course covers theoretical and financial practices which will equip graduates to work in banks, financial and investment offices, VC firms, top corporations in all industries including insurance, transportation, consulting, accounting, construction, management, and tourism.
• Communications – The Sta. Clara Communications course is a comprehensive coverage of traditional media to digital messaging. It trains students to communicate effectively across many mediums while being in a position to understand the interaction and responses of people to different types of messaging. Graduates of this course will easily find job opportunities in media outlets, networking ventures, the corporate world, as well as in schools, publishing outfits, film, government, NGOs, and social services.
• Political Science and Government – This course can be a stepping stone to a law degree or a job with the government. You can also work in the field of education, charitable organizations, business, journalism, or politics.
• Psychology – Psychology graduates can venture into forensics, education, counseling, clinical psychology, medicine, occupational psychology, or human resources. There are many career paths available to psychology graduates.
Carrington College California San Jose
Carrington College is a small private college offering two year certificate courses or associate degrees. They have 12 majors to choose from but their popular programs are Veterinary, Dental Nursing, Medical Assistance, and Medical. The acceptance rate is 100% provided all requirements are met. They allow part-time students and working students and even offer on-campus employment. Carrington College has a fixed tuition guarantee unless they stop schooling temporarily. High school graduates can apply for the $1,000 Carrington High School Scholarship which can be used for tuition. However, the high school graduate must have at least 2.0 GPA, submit an essay and two recommendation letters. The school also accepts students under grants, federal and state financing, and third party scholarships. Otherwise, students can apply for a student loan. Eligibility for financial aid will depend on parents’/guardian’s income statement and financial need.
The top programs in the college are:
• Veterinary Assistance or Veterinary Technology – The Veterinary Assistance course teaches you how to be a vet’s assistant while the Veterinary Technology equips you with the knowledge and training to use the latest technology in the care of animals.
• Dental – There are also two options under this category: Dental Hygiene and Dental Assistance.
• Medical – The Medical program is more extensive as you have 11 specialties to choose from. A few of them are: Pharmacy Technology, Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy, Administrative Assistance, and Surgical Technology.
WestMed College San Jose
WestMed is a small private, not-for-profit school that offers vocational certificate programs. It has a low (6:1) student-teacher ratio. With minimal requirements to be accepted to the school, expect a waiting line to enter some of the programs. The school does not have strict requirement for a high GPA (high school) or even high SAT scores. Acceptance rate is 100%.
About 65% of the students are under some form of financial aid or grant and the average financial aid amount awarded to qualified students is $3,500 a year. The school is open to federal and state grants and has flexible tuition payment plans. The average annual tuition for WestMed College is $26,044.
The most popular programs in WestMed College are:
• Licensed Practical Nurse Training (LPN) – You will learn nursing basics especially focusing on the roles and responsibilities of an LPN. The job of a LPN is more complicated and detailed compared to a nurse’s assistant but without the responsibilities and pay rate of a registered nurse.
• Medical Assistant – Graduates of this program can look forward to a job market with a 23% growth rate. The national wage average of an MA is $14/hour with excellent job security because you can work in hospitals, doctors’ clinics, specialty clinics, outpatient facilities, nursing homes, corporate clinics, healthcare offices, schools, or government offices.
• Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – An EMT or paramedic learns who how to administer emergency care on-site. The paramedic training is more extensive than that of the EMT which has the basic and intermediate training. After graduating, you will have to take a licensing exam and renew the license every two to three years.
John F Kennedy University
JFK University has three campuses, one of which is a satellite campus in San Jose. JKF University San Jose has only one Bachelor’s degree: BA in Psychology. It has a creative curriculum that explores new trends, theoretical and traditional methods, and introduces the students to the latest innovations in the field of psychology. JFK University is part of the National University System and is a private non-profit school. The school is known for accepting mostly non-traditional students which is loosely defined as part-time students, transferees from community colleges or other schools, and those returning to school after a long absence.
To apply to JFK University, you must submit an application along with your SAT/ACT scores and your high school transcript. Classes have a small student-faculty ratio of 5:1 and they conduct evening classes. Unfortunately, there are no student accommodations in the San Jose satellite school. The school though takes an active stance on the living arrangements of each student. The school has adopted a “practitioner-scholar model” and has an average tuition of $20,160 for its Bachelor’s degree that does not include living arrangements, materials and books, and miscellaneous student fees. JFK University offers several scholarships such as the Transfer to Triumph Scholarship for community college transferees, Diversity Student, Yellow Ribbon Scholarship for veterans, JFKU Partnership Scholarship for employees from the school’s partners, Law Enforcement Scholarship for those working in law enforcement, and need or merit-based scholarships which are assessed individually.
How to Get A Scholarship
The most important tip about scholarship application is to apply to several at the same time. This implies an aggressive approach to finding out the different scholarship and grant options for each college and a detailed analysis of your chances of being approved. Companies and schools that award grants or scholarships base their selection on the applicant’s intent (why the pursuit of that specific degree), financial need, ambition, academic history, and recommendations or nominations from people of good standing in the community. A college entrance interview and a scholarship interview is very much like a job interview. It is important to be professional, bring all supporting documents (even if you submitted copies), proper communications and adequate research on the school.
San Jose Resources
Silocon Valley Education Foundation - http://svefoundation.org/
Santa Clara County Office of Education - http://www.sccoe.org/index/Pages/default.aspx