The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Everything You Need to Know About Attending Community College
If you’re still questioning what you want to do after graduation, this is the post for you. While friends and classmates are sending in their deposits and planning where they’re going to live next year, you’re stuck between taking a year off, going away for school, or taking community college courses.
Whether you’re trying to save money or you’re still undecided about what you want to study, going to community college is a great option to consider in the meantime. Here is everything you need to know about community college.
Your Degree Options
Often times, community college is a pathway to a four-year degree. So, instead of going to a four-year school right away, you can choose to pursue your first two years full-time at a community college to earn your Associate’s degree. Many of the credits you earn should apply to general education requirements at a four-year school.
In some cases, you might be interested in a certificate program, especially if you want to dive deep into a particular area of study. Certificates can usually be applied to an Associate’s degree from there.
Transferring to a Four-Year School
Many schools have articulation agreements, which “ensure that an associate’s degree will satisfy all freshmen and sophomore year general education requirements at the four-year college.” Make sure you have an idea of where you’d like to transfer ahead of time, prior to enrolling in classes. You’ll want to confirm that your credits will transfer to the college(s) you’re considering.
Lower Average Cost
One of the most significant benefits of going to community college is its low cost. Along with the flexibility to have a job while studying, community college allows you to pursue a more affordable education. The average cost per year is $3,347, compared to $9,139 at a four-year college.
You may be surprised to find out that you can apply to financial aid when you're attending community college, too. Make sure you apply by the deadline to ensure you are able to get more opportunities for financial aid and don’t lose your chance on grants and scholarships.
Smaller, Intimate Class Sizes
Having a smaller classroom size mean getting to know your professors and your classmates on a personal level. Most community colleges have an average size of 25-35 students per class. Community colleges create an “atmosphere in which you can easily ask questions and talk to your instructors and classmates, not only to help you grasp concepts but also build relationships.
Overall Pros and Cons of Community Colleges
As mentioned above, saving money is a significant benefit to attending community college. To many students, two years of a lower tuition is worth the two years of missing out on the “traditional” college experience. Additionally, you’ll have the flexibility to pursue your education at your own pace. With more personalized attention from staff and faculty members, you’ll have a support system to help you navigate the transfer process and make the most of your education.
However, going to community college means you won’t be able to live on campus. Living on campus allows students to form a sense of community, while building relationships can be difficult at a community college. Similarly, you’ll have less options for clubs and organizations to join. Along with the smaller number of clubs and organizations, you will have limited course offerings that might not align with your career or education goals.
No matter what you decide, every little step you take will help you on your personal growth and career development.