Standing in the library at a community college

Community College, A Smart Choice

Community college has, in the past, been looked down upon. It had unfairly received the reputation as a place to get an inferior education or someplace that slackers might go. This is not the case any more as thousands of recent grads are choosing to start their undergrad experience at community schools and for good reason. Here are just a few of the reasons why community might be the best choice.

1. It Is A Stepping Stone

Some kids are ready ASAP to make the leap to a major university but others, not so much. Going from a small high school with hundreds of students to a huge university with thousands can be very stressful, very stressful. If a student is not ready, it could even lead to a quick end to their college career.

Community college is a much easier transition. For starters, the classes are usually much smaller and a bit more similar to high school classes. You might have a class of 30 to 40 at community when the same class at State would hold hundreds. The small classes may help the student get more individualized attention.

Community college classes also have much more flexible schedules, allowing students to ease into the workload. In addition, the ability to live at home is a huge comfort to many. The flexibility and comfort of going to community can allow students to ease into the independence of college and the personal responsibility that they now face. It is a safe place where they can learn that, unlike in high school, success is entirely up to them.

2. It Is Much Cheaper

The cost of a community college education is about half of the cost of a state school. With the kind of debt that students are leaving college with these days, this is something to thin about. Spend the first two years at community and shave 25% off of the total tuition costs of a degree. This is a significant savings and it can allow a student to eventually pay off their student loan debt years earlier than they would with a full state school education.

Also, one must consider the savings in living costs. Room and board is not cheap and can easily cost 1000 dollars a month or more. Community college can afford the student the opportunity to live at home the first couple years. Sure, after graduating college, grads are eager to set out on their own but they must ask one question. Would you rather live at home during college or would you rather have to live at home after you graduate college because of your debt?

3. It Is Easier To Get In

If a student was not as successful on their SAT’s as they would have liked or if their GPA was a bit low, community college is a place to fix this. It is much easier to get approved in community. Plus, in just a couple of years of community and you can just transfer in to the big school.

For whatever reason, many students just do not do well in high school. I was one of those. I had a GPA of just over 2.1. Not too impressive. When I went to community, I found the independence refreshing and the classes more to my liking. Suddenly a GPA approaching 4.0 was what I was getting.

Think of community college as a fresh start for your academic career.

4. It Has Improved

Community college is no longer the place where you go to just get your Associates degree or a trade certificate. They really are a big part of the college system. Many community colleges have established relationships with major universities, streamlining the transfer process.

Because of these relationships, the quality of the education has also improved. This has increased the acceptance or transferability of community college courses at major universities. This makes a community school a fantastic place to knock out your core degree requirements.

5. It Is Easier For Working Students

Community college has very flexible schedules designed for working adults as well as full time students. Where a core class might only be offered in the afternoon at a state school, it might be offered morning, noon and night at community.

This makes it easier to work during the first few years of college. The ability to work is a great thing because it will further reduce the debt that a student will eventually have to take on. Students might even be able to go the first few years of school without taking on a single personal loan. That would cut the eventual debt almost in half over a typical undergrad.

6. It Is Similar To Larger Schools

Over the years, community has changed drastically and continues to do so. At many schools, students will get a similar experience to what they would get at the big schools. Some community colleges even have dorms, although it might be better to skip this experience and save 500 dollars or more by living at home.

This makes it a great place to transition from when it is time to go to a major university. It can easily be argued that the jump from community to state is far less stressful than the jump from high school to state.

7. It May Be A Better Fit

For some, the sudden independence and responsibility of a big school can be too much. With a major university, students are expected to attend large classes with little individual attention. There, they are 100 percent responsible for staying on task and getting the job done. It can be a shocking change from college.

At community, the smaller class sizes make the transition easier. The students are still expected to be responsible but personalized help is more readily available.

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