Many people don’t consider community colleges because they assume they’re for people who don’t know what they’re doing with their lives or didn’t try hard enough in high school. However, there are so many reasons why community colleges are great choices for higher education and why they are valuable.
First and foremost, community colleges are often more affordable than universities and private colleges. To put this in perspective, a private four-year institution on the East Coast will cost about $70,000 for the 2018-2019 school year for both tuition and room and board without any financial aid. However, a nearby community college charges per credit. For the fall 2018 semester, the price will be $215 per credit, meaning it will only cost $645 for a three-credit course. A full-time student taking 12 credits, for example, would pay $2580, not including books and lab fees. Comparing this amount to the private university, you would be saving thousands of dollars, which may prevent you from going into debt. Although the university may be a great school, starting off at a community college could save you so much money in the long run.
Related to prices, community colleges are extremely flexible. Most of the time, four-year colleges make you pay a certain price each year no matter how many classes you take, and you are usually not able to pay per credit. Community colleges offer this flexibility so that you are able to work and go to school at the same time. You can choose to just take two classes so you can work full-time, and you won’t have to worry as much about affording your tuition.
Furthermore, general education is typically the same no matter what school you go to, although this may depend on what you are studying. Taking a biology class at a community college will be about the same as taking a biology class at a private college or even an Ivy League school. Of course, you won’t learn the same way at each school, but you’ll be learning similar concepts and ideas. If you plan on taking your general education courses first, it does not matter what school you go to.
There is also a misconception that community colleges don’t offer extracurricular activities or other resources to help prepare you for your future. Most, if not all, community colleges offer extracurricular activities so you can get involved and make new friends. There are often clubs for those who are interested in developing leadership skills, as well as Student Government associations and National Honor Society clubs for those who do exceptionally well in school, in addition to other organizations centered around your field of study.
Additionally, community colleges offer many different resources and services that will assist you in your transfer to a four-year college after your two years at community college. They offer the help you need to ensure that you are ready to transfer to a four-year school, and they will make sure your credits will transfer as well. They also provide career-related resources, so if you need help with job searching, resume-building, cover letter writing, or interview prep, community colleges will have the support you need.
There are plenty of reasons why you should see the value of community colleges. Community colleges are more affordable, they have similar resources as four-year colleges and universities, and they offer flexibility.