You might have concentrated your focus on your dream school. You might not have ‘community colleges’ in your mind. But when it comes to paying for college, a two-year school can be a savvy start to your college education.
Community colleges (also known as junior colleges) offer a two–year degree called the associate’s degree. If you have a high school diploma or earned a GED, you can attend a community college. These schools rarely consider standardized test scores, though certain classes or programs may have more stringent admissions requirements. A student with a strong academic record at a community college can then transfer to a more expensive state or private college for two more years to earn a bachelor’s degree.
People mostly undermine the community colleges, but you should consider the community colleges also as the part of your education if
1. You want to save on tuition.
Community colleges are much cheaper than universities. Community college tuition is usually thousands of dollars cheaper than tuition for private and public four–year universities. The average in-state tuition at community colleges for 2014–2015 according to the College Board was just $3,347—two-year schools represent an outstanding way to save money. This total cost is only a fraction of the cost of a private college, and still thousands of dollars less than a four-year program at a state college. Plus, even with the relatively low rates, nearly a third of community college students receive financial aid.
2. You want to save on room & board.
There is a community college within commuting distance of 90 percent of the U.S. population, so convenience is a big selling point. If you have family obligations or just don’t feel financially ready to strike out on your own, a community college can enable you to continue your education without breaking the bank.
3. You need to work while you’re in school.
It is generally required to be a full-time student to attend a four-year school. Most community colleges work or pursue their other interests alongside their studies. If you are in a financial problem and want to save a little bit of cash before joining the university, community college is the best alternative for you.
4. You’re looking for an academic boost.
All students do not have an excellent high school record, they cannot. In case your high school grades are low and you want to cover it, the community college is the best option. For some students, community college is a transition to the university while for some others it is an opportunity to get extra academic guidance and support. Another benefit of the community colleges are their small calss sizes. The priority of the faculty is teaching, not research. And there are generally lots of support services, such as mentoring programs and organized study groups. This support can give students the credentials they need to get admitted to, and succeed at, a four-year school. You might even find that you qualify for a scholarship from the school you’re transferring to or from an outside organization like Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges.
Making the Transfer
Many students opt to transfer to the university from the community colleges after preparing themselves for the education in the university. If you hope to transfer, meet with an adviser both at your community college and, if possible, the school you eventually want to attend. Be sure to find out from the school how many transfer students are accepted per year, what kind of financial aid is available to them, and how many of the credits earned at the old college will be accepted by the new college.
If you have taken your education seriously, community college can be an option for you in numerous circumstances as explained above. After all attending a college is better than not.