Community College: Is It The Best Way To Start?
Why Should I Look at the Community College Route?
No matter what we say, some people are still going to believe that going to college is a great option all of the time. And that is normal and okay, I mean, Doctors and Lawyers and those types of professionals have to go to college sometime. But if you are going to college, is there a better way to get a four-year college degree than starting at a very expensive four-year university or private college? We think so. Community College can be a great way to start your journey towards a bachelor's degree while keeping alive some of the advantages a high school graduate has over someone attending a four- year school right away. Community College is an option that is becoming more and more popular with high school students, as it should. What is the worst thing that happens if you graduate from Community College and decide not to go to a four-year school? You have a two year degree, you have a fraction of the debt, and you learned you did not want to attend a four year school before you took on a major load of debt while still getting a taste of the college years before getting into the workforce early. Really, that is a win-win experience.
Lower Cost Advantage
This is not breaking news to anyone, but Community Colleges costs a lot less than a four- year university. Financial Aid and Scholarships are still available for students going to Community College, and tuition is at a fraction of the cost. When an average student leaves college with a debt load of at least $25,000, doing two years at a community college can greatly reduce that cost. While we can't give an exact number due to not knowing what community colleges or 4 year universities you would be attending, there is no question you get save a ton of money getting the Gen-Eds out of the way before jumping to the more expensive school...maybe even by half.
Another great way Community College can save you money, is that there are so many locations of Community Colleges, that there is a great chance there is one near your home. This provides you with an opportunity to still live with your parents for two years, and commute to school while holding down at least a part time job. This will save you on all sorts of room and board costs, and provides you with an easy way to get some meals. I know living with parents can be tough (and whether they will admit it or not many students see one of the top benefits of going away to college being the "going away" part), but not rushing the process of moving out can save a lot of money. Plus, if you can start an IRA with even modest contributions while still attending community college, you are so far ahead of the game for school, work, retirement, and life's finances in general.
Community College Resources from Amazon
Get Rid of the Gen-Eds
Almost every college student will tell you the same thing, the worse classes you will take in college are those pesky general education classes needed for graduation. Those pesky math, science, and English classes are a pain. What community college allows you to do is finish those classes before you enroll in a four- year school. The best thing about taking those general education classes at a community college is that they are often easier as well.
Finishing General Education classes at a community college often give you one major advantage that is often overlooked. When you transfer into a four-year school with credits already, you get upperclassmen status. This will mean earlier registration for classes as well as an opportunity to get better housing arrangements.
Nobody wants to go to a four-year school and participate in classes they have no interest in. Transferring into a community college means you can focus on the classes you enjoy, which will make your college experience that much more enjoyable. The ONLY thing you need to worry about it that you go to a community college that will transfer your credits easily and successfully to the four year school you are looking at attending.
"Community College Most Underappreciated Asset"
Chance to Adjust Safely to College Environment
One of the most positive things about going to community college is that you will start to learn about how to adjust to a college lifestyle in an easier environment than a four-year school. For the student, this will be the first time that someone is not making them attend class, and the professors won't care if you decide to never read assigned chapters or do homework. Your schedule is going to very different than in high school, this is an opportunity to adjust.
This is a very important advantage for community college. In a four-year school you are just thrown to the wolves, you live on campus, you have five classes to go to, you are creating a new social life, you have more free time than you ever remember, and so forth. This often leads to bad grades from very good high school students, it leads to homesickness, and it helps lead to an almost 50% dropout rate by students attending four-year schools. The importance of adjusting to college life should never be overlooked.
Long, Interesting Hour and a Half Discussion on Community Colleges
Find Out What You Really Want to Do
So many college students enter college thinking they want to be something, maybe a teacher or biology major, only to learn that is not what they want to be at all. What Community College gives you an opportunity to do is take a class or two in your desired major. This gives you an opportunity to learn what that major is about, and if you are really interested in it.
This can save a lot of money in the long run. Students at four-year schools who decide to switch majors at the last second often add an extra year of schooling onto their bill. This is easily an extra $5,000 or more in added student loan debt.
Community College Conclusion
The advantages to a community college as a start on your quest to a four year degree are numerous. Saving on debt, adjusting to college life, learning about what you want to do, finishing general education classes are all great reasons to start at community college.
Education is very important. We understand that, but we do believe rushing into a four-year College, or even a community college, can be a poor decision. Making smart choices with your money, your time, and your future is what we are hoping you will do. So when you are looking at colleges after high school graduation, weigh all the options, including community college or taking some time off.