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5 Reasons To Choose A Community College Over A University

Updated on September 30, 2014

Find Your Basic Plan For College

  • Path – degree, certificate or transfer
  • Short-term and long-term goals
  • Budget – cost of college and personal expenses
  • Living situation – home, roommate, or on own
  • Job for additional expenses
  • Part-time or full time student

Programs Offered at Community Colleges

  • Associates
  • Certificates
  • Transfer credits
  • Vocational certificates

I once heard the craziest phrase, “college is not meant for everyone.” Well that can be true if you believe it but don’t accept it on my account. College has been offered to most everyone, even those with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. Today not one person can be denied a college education through the community college system unless his or her own behavior negates the attempt.

Set up somewhat differently than a university, community college is meant to appeal to as many interested candidates as possible. With each candidate come individualistic needs and desires. Some of those candidates have a clear path and direction whereas others are trying to find their calling. Despite the desired direction any person certainly has a place at the community college level.

Preparing for college is a lengthy process that has the potential for evoking a lot of anxiety. When preparing for college applications many question, fears and unknowns come to mind. Some high schools really focus on preparing students for college but others do not. Not to mention the older or non-traditional student who often appears to the community colleges with little warning or preparation for what lies ahead.

Though when the thought of becoming student comes to mind the preparation phase focus on a person’s needs. Though the student population may be different than the university student the level of education that is offered is very similar.

Before starting college either at a community, state or university level one must have a plan. By setting out plans and goals a person is more likely to obtain and complete what they set out to do. Without a clear idea of what college personally means it is very easy to become lost in the world of being a lifelong student.

However, remaining as a life long student is only feasible if paying for classes on your own. If a student is receiving financial aid there is a limitation of funds that can be received without obtaining either a degree or certificate. So understanding and maintaining a goal is essential.

So let’s get to the reasons a community college education outweighs that of a university.

5 Reasons

Similarities to Universities

  • Campus clubs and groups
  • Sports teams
  • Student outreach and campus activities
  • Bookstores with spirit wear
  • Some community colleges have dorms
  • Disabled student services
  • Psychological services


How will I will pay for college is the first though that comes across most potential students’ mind, if not their parent’s minds. Often many potential students are already thinking about the cost of school well before they apply. Far more never get as far as an application because they count themselves out due to the lack of finances and being unaware that other options are available.

Community colleges regularly serve the local population at large and many of those students are eligible for financial aid or other financial services. Often centrally located, which makes community colleges accessible by public transportation.

With the convenience of financial assistance a greater population can be served and thereby affords some that may not otherwise have had an opportunity at higher education.

By attending a community college versus a universities students save on average about $5000 per year.

Time to Improve Grades

To get into the top schools the acceptance procedures are pretty tough and a potential students grade point average is at the top of the requirements. Community colleges afford students the ability to take college driven courses while working on bringing up their grades. Those will be the marks used when the time is right to apply for a university transfer. Certainly throughout college ones grades becomes the center of attention and is the trail of their college existence.

Would you consider going to a community college

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General Educational Requirements

The plain and simple truth about general educational course is they are pretty much the same class whether taken at the community college or university level. Hence the term general – these courses are counted toward a degree or certificate and are the same classes that are transferred when completing a Bachelors degree.

Frequently local community colleges are paired with near universities when accepting transfer students. Universities pair with community colleges and approve their curriculum as part of accepted courses. These partnerships ensure that the potential student is obtaining a university level education at a discounted rate.

Entrance Requirements

When faced with the stress of getting accepted to school community college alleviates much of that anxiety. For most community college potential students will need to prove that they have obtained an equivalent certificate to a high school diploma. All else is left up to applying, paying for and attending classes.

Though these procedures prepare the student in many ways to the process of universities. Students are able to understand the seriousness of their behavior and determination when attending a community college. Often the community college affords the baby steps so many students need. Becoming an adult in today’s society is tougher and more intense than years of the past. Therefore, taking life at a slower pace is just what some students require.

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In The Local Area

A thought that pops up far too often with parents is the fear of their child moving away from home and being left in the world miles apart. Even though they try to minimize this same fear students alike fear being left to their own devices. Not for the fun stuff – they quickly think about how much fun they will have away from their parents. But what about the day-to-day responsibilities that most young people dread if not are terrified by.

One way to alleviate the pressures of upcoming adulthood a young person can attend a local campus. Many local community colleges offer some of the same groups, clubs and sports as the big universities, therefore nothing is lost in the adult experiences.

Community Colleges Measure Up

After considering all your options and reasons to attend a local community college, it may be a simple choice for some. The benefits of attending a local and cheaper college is likely to alleviate much of the stress that goes into the choices to be made.

When looking at the overall picture ones education is not compromised or lessened by any means when attending a community college as an initial step in ones college career. Community colleges serve a great purpose when looking toward obtaining either a certificate, associates degree, transfer units or a vocational certificate.

Most importantly when weighing out the options related to higher education one must be solid on their plan. Once a plan has been put in place making the decision of whether to attend community college will become clearer. If you find that this is most efficient for you then do your research in terms of the programs offered and the universities that they are linked to if thinking of transferring.

Hopefully this information helped to solidify your decision and create an easier path to higher education.


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    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Heidi. I too wish I would have went that route but I learned all this a little too late.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      6 years ago from Chicago Area

      Even though our local community college (a stellar one!) currently has an hourly rate in the $150+zone, it still represents an excellent value. I wish I would have gone that route when I was in college. Voted up and useful!

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Mary for the comment and sharing your personal experience related to the cost of college. I will be there soon as I have one going off to college in the next 2 years. I think community college can help young people solidify their goals without it costing an arm and a leg..

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      As an experienced Mother of college kids, I will add: College is very expensive as we all know. One of my daughters won 18 scholarships including the Horatio Alger (I wrote a Hub about her). I could never have afforded to send her otherwise. She did graduate from a University, and is now a teacher and loving it.

      My son had no desire to go away to college and I was thankful. I live on a fixed income and could never have afforded the costs. He is living at home with me and attending our local community college. This is his first semester. His goal is to get a degree in English and go to Japan to teach students there English.

      You wrote a very informative and helpful Hub. Voted UP, etc. and shared.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Tim for sharing your personal experience. Community college certainly has many advantages.

    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      6 years ago from Chicago Region

      I can vouch for this! I attended a community college, Berea College in Berea Kentucky, and I found the quality of the college and the campus to be generally very good.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Rasta for stopping by

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Most employees respect degrees from community colleges. So it's a very good idea.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Dr. Bill thanks for the comment. Community Colleges really serve vastly different student styles. Working at one I see the very interesting students on a daily basis :)

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I'm one of those who has said, in the past, "college is not for everyone!" With so many options now available, and so many fine options at the Community College level, I'm in complete agreement with the basic premise of your article. Thanks for sharing. There most certainly is very likely a Community College program for a vast number of students. We just built a new Campus, down the road, in our school district. I now drive past it multiple times each day. What fun! ;-)

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Bill for the comment. Let's hope more people stop by :) Now that I am working for a community college I really see the benefits of using them as a stepping stone to adulthood and college life. I am really trying to push my own children that direction for several reasons but certainly the cost benefit.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      How is it that you have no comments on this? Well, I, for one, believe in the value of community colleges. I wish, quite honestly, that more kids would attend them before going to a four-year college.


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