“Community college.” The phrase is a punch line for many comedians. Many people use the term, “community college” to put down the intellect of people they are debating with. Many people have this stereotype of community college as a place where people who are not really serious about college hang out. In fact, many critics consider community college as a waste of time and a place for people with no direction in their lives. All these stereotypes are unfair. While they may be true for a certain population of community college students, they are not true for all. The truth of the matter is, community college offers many distinct advantages compared to going straight to a four-year university program from high school.
The first advantage is on costs. It’s obviously much cheaper to attend a community college than to go to a university. Even if you go to a state university, it still costs much more than going to a community college.
Flexibility is another key advantage of community college. Not all of us are born with silver spoons in our mouths. Many of us have to work to make ends meet. Working full-time while attending to a four-year university program might be academic suicide for many people. On the other hand, if you are going to a community college, the picture changes entirely. Going to community college places a lot of flexibility on your hands, because many community college programs are intended for students who are working part-time or full-time. Not only are you able to schedule your classes around your work schedule, you are also given the extra flexibility of scheduling them around family time and personal schedules. Talk about flexibility!
The third key benefit to attending community college before going to “real college” is that you get opportunity to mature more. Many students drop out of college because they just don’t have the maturity level to start something and finish it. In fact, in some colleges, the dropout rate is around 50%. Talk about wasted money, wasted college preparation, and disappointed parents! Community college is perfect if you are unsure of what field to major in or if you don’t know your ability to handle stress and manage your time. Look at community college as a learning laboratory for your time management skills, self-discipline, and other maturity issues. You have two years to mature in community college before you transfer out to a four-year college.
The great benefit of transferring out is you save on two years of full college tuition for a four-year university program. This is a major discount you avail of if you go to community college!
For all the reasons above, it makes great sense to go to community college first before going on to a four-year university program.
The best key advantage of going to community college before hitting university is admissions. Believe it or not, you have a tremendous admissions competitive advantage if you transfer in as a junior instead of applying as a freshman. Competitive schools, like Ivy League schools and prestigious state public universities, allow for junior transfers. In fact, certain schools tend to relax their admissions standards for junior transfers. This is great news if you did not get admitted to a top school when you applied as a freshman. You may have a better shot if you apply as a junior.
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