4 Reasons Students Should Consider a Community College Education

Jan 12, 2019 by

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It’s a question most kids are asked as early as preschool. They might dream to serve their community as a police officer or firefighter or save lives as a doctor or nurse. Their dream will likely change dozens of times over the years. In fact, some adults still don’t know the answer to this basic but very weighted question. Unfortunately, immense pressure is placed on high school seniors to choose a college and career path. The average four year college costs in-state residents around $20,000 annually and out of state residents over $40,000. That’s a pretty hefty financial burden to take on without a clear answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” With that being said, many community colleges cost much less and offer students the same level of education and other valuable opportunities. Read on to discover several reasons for undecided students to consider attending a community college before enrolling in a university.

1. Save Money

This is probably the main reason why students decide to attend community college over a four year college or university. The cost is substantially less. One reason being that community colleges can’t charge for room and board because they don’t offer it. This automatically cuts several thousand dollars off the top of annual tuition. In state students will pay approximately $4,500 per year for community college, where out of state students will pay a little over $8,000. The ability to get your associate’s degree with minimal student loans is a big draw for young students fresh outta high school. This is especially true when you consider that the average cost of student loan debt for a college graduate is over $35,000.

2. Time to Decide on a Major

Without direction or clearly defined goals, many students register undecided. And even those students who think they know the answer to what they want to be when they grow up, will likely change their major at least once in their college careers. For students who are unsure of their major, attending a community college is just plain smart. Not only is it cost effective, but it also gives them time and experience to make a final decision regarding their major. Community college exposes students to different coursework, subjects, and countless possibilities. With a few college courses of varying subjects under their belts, students get a better handle on what interests them and what skills they excel in. General credits are also relatively basic across the board, which means that the credits a student obtains in their first two years will easily transfer if and when they choose to move onto a university. Basic coursework includes subjects like English and math. Students can fill these requirements with a long list of classes ranging from algebra and calculus to creative writing and English composition. Once a student finishes their general credits they can start exploring different subjects and brainstorm career options like going into the medical field, education, or working for a digital marketing agency.

3. Comparable Education

One of the biggest misconceptions about attending a four year university over a community college is that you’ll get higher-quality education. Although ivy league schools and other top rated universities often have cutting edge technology, highly-qualified teachers, and big budgets to work with, that doesn’t always equate to the best education. Many community colleges offer comparable education for first year students. This is especially true when most college freshman are taking general credit courses that don’t require prerequisites or detailed, specific instruction. In recent years, community colleges have worked hard to improve the education they provide in order to boost enrollment and help put local aspiring young adults on the road to success. Some positive changes include making it easier for students to transfer credits and hiring qualified and experienced staff. Other attractive qualities offered by community colleges include flexible class schedules, smaller class sizes, and higher acceptance rate for students that may not have performed as well in high school.

4. Ability to Live at Home

Although some students commute to a four year college, most take advantage of the room and board offered to enrollees. The dorm experience is an important one for many students. In fact, some students choose a college as far away from home as possible! College students crave independence and view college as their ticket out. The problem is, that ticket to “freedom” also comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Many college students are forced to get a job, which means just one more thing added to their already overloaded schedule. Between classes, homework, and socializing, most college students view employment as an unnecessary inconvenience. And while some parents foot the bill for all their college student’s needs, this isn’t possible for everyone. When a student chooses to attend community college, they often do so while still living at home. This gives them an opportunity to save money and also mature. The average high school graduate is 17 or 18 years old. While 18 years old makes a young adult legal by federal law, it doesn’t make them mentally or emotionally prepared to enter “the real world”. By spending two more years living at home and commuting to a community college, students can mature and become more focused and prepared for moving on in their educational and professional careers.

Community college sometimes get a bad rap. People sometimes view them as lesser quality or not as esteemed as four year universities. Some students simply have their minds and hearts set on a specific ivy league school or choose a college based on their chosen major. But for students who are undecided, unsure about living away from home or looking to save a few dollars, community colleges offer a great educational foundation and shouldn’t be discounted.

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