Benefits Of Going To A Community College
There are a variety of options you may be looking into after finishing high school. Maybe going to a 4-year college/university does not seem like the option that is right for you at this moment. Dont worry! There are a variety of routes to choose from and community college might be the right one for you!
Attending community college is an excellent way to learn, discover your educational interests, earn a degree or credential, and prepare to transfer to a 4-year college/university if you want. Here are the benefits of attending community college.
Is There A Free College
There is no such thing as a truly free college education. But some colleges offer free tuition programs for students, and more than 20 states offer some type of tuition-free college program. In addition, students may also want to check out employer-based programs. A number of big employers now offer to pay for their employees’ college tuition. Finally, some students may qualify for enough financial aid or scholarships to cover most of their college costs.
Why Do Community Colleges Have A Bad Reputation
With all of these advantages associated with two-year community colleges, one has to wonder: Why do community colleges have a bad reputation anyway? Pinpointing the many causes for the stigma surrounding two-year colleges isnt an exact science. Still, there are some clear contributing factors, some of which weve addressed below.
You Might Be Seen as an Underachiever
Unfortunately, it seems to be the perception that community college attendance means students have no other choice. Of course, this is a myth. The truth is that thousands of students across the country opt to go to community college each semester despite having the opportunity to attend a four-year school. Each individual student attending a two-year college has their own reasons for being there, and it may have nothing at all to do with an academic transcript or test score.
Still, community colleges are notoriously easier to get into than your average college or university. Some even have open enrollment policies, meaning if you have a high school diploma and submit an application, youre guaranteed acceptance. While this can be seen as an advantage for prospective students, it still perpetuates the myth that community colleges are for underachievers.
The Discounted Price Tag Could Be a Disadvantage
You Can Expect More Than a Low-Paying Career
- Respiratory Therapist
- Medical Sonographer
- Radiation Therapist
Don’t Miss: Can You Still Get Scholarships While In College
List Of The Pros Of Community College
1. It is much cheaper to attend a community college. If you are attending a community college full-time over two semesters, then the average cost is less than $4,000 per year in tuition. Compared to the price of tuition at in-state public universities, students can save 50% or more on their educational costs for the first 2 years of their undergraduate degree. When compared to private colleges or universities, students at a community college might save up to 90% on their tuition costs.
The average cost of tuition and fees at a 4-year private university in the United States is about $130,000. If you spend the first 2 years at a community college instead, the cost of your 4-year tuition would be under $80,000.
2. Community colleges usually have flexible schedules. If you attend a standard college or university, then your class schedule typically follows a 9-5 day, much like a job would. That can make it difficult for parents, working adults, and students who are trying to get through college without debt to make it to class. Most community colleges offer many night class options in multiple degree pathways, making it easier to earn the credits each semester within a schedule that works.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Inclusive, diverse, flexible and affordable: attending a local community college brings a unique set of benefits to help you develop your skills, build your career and create exciting new opportunities. Aligning those benefits to support your goals is the key to your unique learning journey. Here are some tips for setting yourself up for success.
Visualize your reasons for studying â your long-term goals, the life you want to lead, the company you want to work for â and write that down. Writing down your vision, whether it involves a direct career path or a leisurely exploration of something youâre passionate about, will help keep you on track as you move through your studies.
Explore how video content and remote learning opportunities offered by community colleges can work alongside in-person teaching to create a blend that supports your learning needs and school-life balance. There are so many ways to design your day for smart, productive learning alongside your college hours.
For instance, by listening to a podcastor recorded lesson while you exercise or during your daily commute, you can build study into your routine without having to find extra time. Itâs a great way to absorb knowledge and think about key issues while meeting your other commitments, and youâll be amazed at how it can enhance your studies.
You May Like: How Many Years Of College To Be An Architect
Pro And Con: Community College Isnt That Four
That is, you wont be waving a tearful goodbye to your kid in a dorm room and then driving home and thinking about how a new chapter of your life is beginning. Your teenager will probably still be living at home, albeit on a completely different school schedule than in high school. Thats all something to think about.
Still, that isnt to say that you cant have a wonderful community college experience. Plenty of people do.
It was 50 years ago that I graduated from a community college and Ive never regretted it, saysWilliam Seavey, an author and consultant in Cambria, California. Seavey lived with his parents and attended Pasadena City College in the 1960s, wrote for his community college newspaper and wound up getting internships at two big magazines in New York City, which, he says, resulted in my accidental attendance at the famous Woodstock music festival.
So, sure, community college especially if you can get into a time machine and go back into the 1960s may be the best thing ever. But, still, arguably, there may be less community at a community college than at a college.
Its less social, says Avi Sinai, owner ofHM Capital, a private real estate lender in Los Angeles. Sinai went to a community college in 2003, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience before later transferring to the University of California, Berkeley.
Almost no one lives on campus, and the study body is very transient. That makes it hard to build a college experience, Sinai says.
Benefits Of Attending Community College For 2 Years To Save Money
According to The Institute for College Access and Success, in 2015, the average university student graduated with $28,950 in student loan debt. A 2016 report by Forbes found that the average graduate in 2016 left school with over $37,000 in student loans.
This level of debt holds many people back from getting married, buying a house, or starting a family. Theres also a high risk of default new data from the Brookings Institution estimates that 40% of borrowers will default on their student loans by 2023.
However, you still want and need a great education. So, what are you supposed to do?
You might find the answer at your local community college. Attending a community college for two years is a great way to reduce the costs of a college education and avoid some student loan debt. But is this choice right for you? Lets look at what a community college offers, as well as the pros and cons of going this route.
average return of 372%
You May Like: What Percentage Of College Students Have Student Loans
Why Community Colleges Are A Better Alternative Than A Gap Year
COVID-19 has disrupted many of our lives, especially high school seniors who were excited to graduate and begin a new chapter at a university in the fall.
Here are five reasons why High School seniors should consider choosing going to a community college over a gap year.
Your Teen Wants Credentials For A Specific Career Or Job
Community colleges give students the chance to earn credentials in many career fields. If your teen is interested in one of those fields, this may be a good fit.
Community colleges offer different kinds of associates degrees. An occupational degree, like the associate in occupational studies degree, usually involves hands-on training. It prepares students for a specific job.
Some common options for these degrees are veterinary technology, computer programming, dental hygiene, and graphic art. But there are many others, too.
An occupational degree doesnt have a core academic curriculum. In fact, it doesnt have an academic component at all. All of the coursework relates directly to the job. So if a student decides to pursue a four-year degree afterward, some credits may not transfer toward it.
Associate in arts and associate in science degrees, sometimes called transfer degrees, may also be career-directed. But these degrees do have an academic component. The advantage? It leaves options open. If a student decides to pursue a bachelors degree, it typically takes only two more years as a full-time student to complete one, depending on the major.
Community colleges may also offer certificate programs in areas like accounting, acupuncture, or not-for-profit fundraising. These are shorter programs meant to qualify students for specific jobs. Students dont receive degrees, but they do get certification.
Read Also: Do I Have To Go To College
Some Universities Require On
A contributor to the high costs of many universities is the requirement for non-local freshmen to live in campus housing. Some schools may require students to live on campus after their first year, too. While you will learn many things about becoming an independent adult living in dorms, you will also have to pay the cost of thousands of dollars in living expenses. For those who live on campus, universities may also require the students to purchase a minimum meal plan.
If you dont want to live in a dorm, you may need to live in the same town as the university. Otherwise, you may not have an option to avoid living on campus at some four-year colleges.
Why Community College Is Good To Start With
The apparent question that comes to mind is why even bother to go to community college if we want to acquire a bachelor’s degree from a university later?
As it turns out, a growing number of American students are opting for community college because of the numerous advantages it provides.
According to the NCSES , more than half of the respondents had previously attended a community college and 25% had received an associate’s degree from one.
Don’t Miss: How Long Is Business School In College
All Day You See Snapchat Stories From Friends With Their New College Buddies In Their Dorm At The Quad In Class Etc And It Fills You With Jealous Rage
Campus life is not an essential part of community college. It makes you so sad when you see your friends in a new place, far from parents , mixing and mingling with tons of new people. You long for that campus atmosphere where students aren’t working as full-timers daily and only taking classes on the side. Anytime you see one of these snaps, Justin Bieber’s “That Should Be Me” replays over and over acoustically in your brain.
Associate Of Applied Arts
An A.A.A. degree has similar requirements to an A.A. degree, but the focus is more vocational. You would pursue an A.A.A. degree if you were serious about working as a graphic artist, for example, but have no plans to transfer to a four-year institution. Your electives in this field would be more career-specific, such as advanced graphic design classes or art education.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is College In Texas
Options At Community Colleges
Most community colleges offer two main paths for students: career training and transfer programs. Currently, there are community colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees in 24 states.
Career training. Students training for a specific career can take technical classes and earn a certificate or Associate of Applied Science degree.
Learn how to become:
Transfer programs. Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university can take their general academic requirements, such as English and math, at a community college. Many community colleges have articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities that outline how specific credits transfer.
Most community colleges offer associate degrees, certificates and not-for-credit classes. Students dont have to earn an associate degree to transfer, but those who do may be more likely to earn their bachelors degree. If you plan to earn an associate degree before transferring, talk to your school counselor about whether an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree is best for your goals.
Go To College Without Leaving Home
Almost anywhere you live in California, you’ll find a community college within commuting distance that reflects the diversity of your community. If you’re going directly from high school to college, community college gives you the option to continue living at home. This can help lower the cost of college, as well as let you focus on education rather than the lifestyle changes that come with going away to college.
Also Check: Can College Students Get Ebt
Get A Second Chance At Your Four
If, coming out of high school, you were not accepted by your chosen four-year college, that doesn’t mean you can never go there. Find out from the four-year college or your community college transfer center what you can do to strengthen your admission application. Then prepare yourself at a community college for a successful admission application as a transfer student.
Small Class Sizes Big Support
Compared to many large universities, community colleges may have smaller class sizes, which can make it easier to interact with and get to know your instructors and for them to get to know you. Instructors at community colleges are generally focused on teaching instead of research and you might find them to be more accessible than some professors at large research universities. Like four-year schools, community colleges have a wide range of student support services available, including tutoring, study groups, and academic advising. But they also have programs designed to help students gain admittance to and thrive at a four-year college
4. Campus Life exists, but on a smaller scale
While most community colleges dont have dorms or other on-campus housing, the few that do generally have a small number of students who live on campus. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, about 28 percent of all community colleges offer on-campus housing, but just one percent of students take advantage of it. Community colleges dont have fraternities or sororities, either.
Also Check: How To Become An Air Force Officer After College
Why Community Colleges Are Good For You
The challenges facing higher education are almost always analyzed in terms of four-year colleges and universities, even though more students attend community college than any other type of higher-education institution. In my career as a faculty member, dean, and president in New York, California, Kansas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Ive found that colleges and universities too often pay only lip service to recruiting community-college transfers. Sadly, only 15 percent of community-college students earn a bachelors degree within six years. The reasons? Poor advising about how to take courses that will help at the transfer institution, lack of financial aid, and the cultural gulf between community-college students and the colleges and universities that do little to welcome them.
Opportunity To Improve Your Transcript
You know you should apply for college scholarships to help offset the high cost of tuition. However, if your high school transcript is less than rosy, you wont qualify for most scholarships. Thats where community college can help. Achieving straight As in a community college can help you earn scholarships that previously wouldnt have been available to you.
Furthermore, if you aspire to attend a prestigious private university but werent accepted out of high school, attending a community college may help your chance at admission. Not only will you get a second chance to achieve a stellar transcript, but youll also have a better chance to be accepted as a junior than as a freshman since theres less competition.
Read Also: Can I Get My Ged And Go To College
Reasons Why Community College Might Be The Best Choice After High School
Although tuition is getting more expensive across the board, community colleges are still significantly more affordable than most four-year institutions. The average annual rate to attend a four-year university could run as high as $30,000 or more, while the annual tuition at a community college probably wont cost much more than $5,000. In addition, many community college students continue to live at home while taking classes, saving money on room and board as well.
Easier Admission Policies Flexibility Smaller Campus Easy Transitioning Hands-On Experience Networking Options Post-Degree Options
Your Child Needs To Build Confidence
If your teen isnt socially or emotionally ready to go away to college, community college can be a good way to ease the transition. Most have small classes. Many feel more nurturing than large schools. And students generally live at home.
Another reason your teens confidence may grow: the emphasis on teaching. Many community colleges are part of a state university system. Their professors are just as qualified as their state university counterparts. But community college professors tend to focus on teaching rather than research.
If your child is committed, community college can be a great place to thrive. Doing well can make kids feel more comfortable interacting with others. Once they feel more secure, they may be ready to transfer to a four-year school.
Also Check: How To Get Into Real Estate In College