So many people overlook community college as an option for higher education. You could complete your higher learning career at a CC by earning a certificate, or you could complete half of a bachelor’s degree and transfer the credits to a 4-year university! Here are some reasons to look into your local community college to see if it’s a good fit for your academic goals:
1) the price tag
At my CC, the cost is ~$90 per credit. At the university I will be attending this fall, the cost is ~$470 per credit. Overall, this makes tuition roughly $2,700 for a year at community college and $14,100 at a 4-year university. This means if you attend a community college for your first two years of college, you could save about $22,000 on tuition alone.
2) small class sizes
In my 4 years at community college, I was never in a class with more than 30 people. Typically, it was about 25. This meant more 1-1 attention/feedback from my professors and an ability to form a personal connection. I would regularly talk to my professors and ask them for additional feedback or advice when I found something difficult. I’d also share my study methods with them and ask for feedback. I’d ask what previous students have done to be successful. Having your professors know who you are helps with a number of things. It makes class less miserable knowing they’re just a person. It opens up doors; teachers who know you are more likely to recommend you for scholarships, university admissions, internships, etc. It can also sometimes help your grade. When teachers see your hard work and the interest you have in a class, they may give you the benefit of the doubt more often or give you an extra opportunity to fix mistakes. I’ve offered to write a short paper for extra credit before for a class where I was nervous about the final exam, and the professor happily agreed it would be a fine idea, since they knew I was putting my all into the course. The feeling of having your professors as a support system through your college career can make all the difference, and community college made it so simple to form.
3) opportunities to grow
Many community colleges offer ample opportunities for personal and academic growth in students. My school has dozens of student-run organizations, and a number of departments that hire students for part-time jobs or work-study. Since I was quite young when I started college, it took me about 2 years to actually get involved on my campus, but I ended up serving as president of two organizations, a student ambassador, and working for the academic support services center. The student body at most community colleges are much smaller than a typical 4-year; they expect students to only be there for a year or two, so the opportunities come more quickly. Leadership opportunities aren’t reserved for juniors and seniors.
4) ability to live at home
Although some may see this as a con, living at home for another two years if your parent/guardian allows can save you a ton of money. If you’re someone who’s anxious to move out already, consider getting an apartment with a friend or two. Even if you’re paying for rent, the money you save yearly on tuition has the potential to make up the difference.
5) program flexibility
I know so many high school students have trouble deciding what they want to major in. At community college, you have the opportunity to try a multitude of things. Since the first 2 years of school are pretty similar for most majors, you have a lot of flexibility. My school offers about 40 different degree programs and certificates to students. There’s a culinary program, and EMT training program, an ultrasound technician certificate, and more. Because community colleges are significantly cheaper than universities, there’s less of a fear of “wasting” a class as you work to find your passion.
6) be a full-time or part-time student
At community college, there is no pressure to take a full 15-credit class load each semester. If you need to continue working full-time to earn money and support yourself, you have the option of living at home and taking a class or two without having to put your life on hold. However, if you want to take 18 credit hours, that freedom is there for you as well. Most CCs also offer online classes! All kinds of people attend CCs: first-time college students, people who dropped out of 4-years and are returning to school, high school drop-outs seeking a fresh start, parents, teachers continuing their own education, community members looking to learn something new. No matter what your situation and commitment to school is, CC will welcome you!
7) summer classes
If you have an annoying Math or Philosophy class that you just want to get out of the way, summer is a GREAT time to do so! Many 4-year college students will take summer classes to get a class or two completed while they work over the summer. Summer classes are loads of fun, and are usually done in half the time as a normal course would be in the fall or winter. It’s an excellent way to get an accelerated course or something. Summer semesters were always my favorite, and I’d recommend them to anyone!
That’s it for now! If you find this helpful and would like a part two, a cons list, or if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way!