College vs. Trade School: What is the Difference?

College vs. Trade School: What is the Difference?

Materials: Links to assist: Trade School vs. College



  1. Mentors will begin by asking students if they know what a college is followed by a trade school. After students have shared what they know, go ahead and give them the official definitions noted in the synopsis above.
  2. After the differences have been defined, share with students that you will be viewing a video that will share a bit more.
  3. After the video is complete, ask students what they think: Does one of those options sound better to them than the other? What do they like about each? What don’t they like about each?
  4. This is a perfect opportunity to share your own experience here. If you went to a trade school, share with the students. If you went to a 4-year college, share that, as well!
  5. Let students know that they have lots of time to decide and that they will have lots of school staff members who will help them to make the best choice for them! This discussion should be non-stressful and just informative so that we can simply introduce a couple of options to the students and allow them to begin to think about their future
    schooling options.

    Download activity here

Grade Range: 6th-8th

Time: 25 minutes **Consider using the hand raise/thumbs up feature of your virtual platform to assist with determining who will answer.**


Synopsis: Mentors will share with students the differences between attending a trade school or college. Be sure to define both.
*College or University: an educational institution or establishment, in particular one providing
higher education, you typically attend for 4 years.

*Trade School: A trade school (also known as a technical school) is a postsecondary educational institution designed to train students for a specific job in a skilled trade career. Most importantly, a trade school offers hands-on training to prepare students for actual work in their chosen field.
Students will watch a video on the differences and have a discussion on their thoughts. (Remember: We are only giving facts. We are not advocating one over the other!)