The Deal with Community Colleges!
Disclaimer: This post is by no means an attempt to discourage students from attending 4-year institutions immediately after high school. The university experience is definitely a fun and rewarding one, most of which will be dependent on you, so why not? This post is rather an attempt to inform students of a different alternative they can explore outside of the traditional 4-year university.
Community Colleges in the United States are primarily two-year educational institutions, that award certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees to students. According to the United States Department of Education, there are 1,462 community colleges; 415 of them being private, and the other 1,047 being public institutions. Unfortunately, it seems Community Colleges don't get the positive hype they deserve. In effect, this post will focus on 5 reasons why you really can't go wrong with Community Colleges!
1. Lower Cost of Tuition
The cost of education does not get cheaper as the years go by, and for some, it could be a headache affording it, without having to resort to student loans. Community Colleges are by far, less expensive than traditional 4-year universities, and if you are trying to save some money for your first 2-years of college, you definitely can go no wrong with this route. As of Fall 2017, it cost out-of-state students $383.50 per credit to attend Northern Virginia Community College, and $1,423.75 per credit for the same group of students to attend George Mason University in Virginia. So now you have this information in mind, you may want to think carefully about your educational choices and the financial decisions you take.
2. Small Class Size
Considering most Community Colleges tend to be smaller in size in almost all aspects compared to 4-year universities, this setting tends to be ideally convenient for the individual with a preference for small classroom sizes. With most classrooms in Community Colleges filled with 25 or less students, there is more opportunity for engagement, discussion, and interaction between students and faculty, as opposed to the large classroom sizes and huge crowds we tend to see in general requirement courses in 4-year universities. The Community College classroom environment is a definitely a big bonus for the student who loves to ask a lot of questions on the go!
Raising a family, and holding a job while attending school is not an easy task, but guess what? Attending Community College makes it possible for the full time worker or parent enroll for classes without having to completely quit their responsibilities. Unlike most 4 year institutions, Community Colleges offer a very flexible course schedule, more night classes, and the possibility of weekend classes for students to have the option to choose from.
4. Transfer Agreements
Community Colleges allows students to fulfill their general requirement courses, and have them transferred to universities of their choice upon completion of the program. The good news is, some community colleges have admission agreements with other 4-year institutions, which makes qualified students, who meet all requirements eligible to attend these universities. More importantly, always seek consultation with your academic advisor to ensure the credits you are taking are transferable at the end of the day!
5. Open-Door Admission
If you did not get into your dream university, because of a rather low GPA, don't lose hope just yet! Community Colleges have an open-door admission policy, which offers the opportunity for students to take a couple of classes, regardless of their past academic performance. Additionally, the SATs are not required for admission to Community Colleges...hurrayyy to that! Opportunity they say, knocks but once, however, attending a Community College gives you the second chance to improve your GPA, and get accepted into some prestigious universities, which may not have been the case initially.