As the back-to-school season kicks off, students and parents of college-bound students are gearing up…
Some people never think of attending a community college, but just figure they must attend a four-year university if they wish to obtain a degree. That isn’t the case and there are many reasons that attending a community college might be the right choice for many people.
WHY THEY WERE DEVELOPED
According to College Board, community colleges are in existence for two main reasons: (1) to serve as a bridge from high school to college by providing courses for transfer toward a bachelor’s degree, and (2) to prepare students for the job market by offering entry-level career training as well as courses for adult students who want to upgrade their skills for workforce reentry or advancement.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER IT?
If you are uncertain about your major in college, a community college is a great place to begin your search. You can try out various subjects and see what feels right for you. Or maybe you are not certain if you even need a four-year degree; maybe an Associate of Arts degree is sufficient for your needs. Also, some careers only require certain certifications, e.g., food-service technology or paralegal studies.
DO YOU NEED A FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE?
If you don’t have time for a full-time study load, community college life might just be what works for you. Maybe you are working full-time and/or have many family obligations that would keep you from attending full-time. Classes are usually offered throughout the day and evening, and sometimes on weekends. Also, many colleges offer on-line courses.
HOW ABOUT YOUR GPA?
Unlike four-year universities, community colleges are open to everyone. So, if your current GPA isn’t what would look good for a university, this may be the place to start working on increasing your GPA. Since the class sizes are smaller, it is easier to obtain assistance from professors and faculty.
The most obvious benefit to community college over four-year universities is tuition cost. You can take the basic core classes and take a couple classes for a major you might be interested in, and you won’t be out as much money if you decide to change your major down the line. According to College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for two years for a public, two-year college is $3,3437, compared to $9,139 for a public, four-year school.
If you are a student still living at home with parents, it could make more financial sense for you to continue to live at home during community college years. Housing costs will be cheaper and probably food costs as well.
If you are older and heading to college for the first time or heading back to college, not moving to a college campus could save you money as well.
TRANSITION FROM HIGH SCHOOL
Moving away to college in a different city can be scary, especially for students who are shy or who are less socially inclined. If you enroll at your local community college, you are more likely to have classes with people you already know.
Community colleges usually offer interest-based clubs, which offers students one more way to make new friends outside of class. Usually, there is les emphasis on sports than there is at many state universities.
As Jennifer Wilber writes in Ocation.com, “at the end of the day, most employers don’t care what college you earned your degree from, or if you earned a two-year degree before earning your Bachelor’s. They only care that you have a degree in a field relevant to the particular position for which you are applying.”
In the end, it is great there are many choices for attending college and getting ahead in the workplace.