Is Attending a Community College a Good Option?

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community collegeDepending on the career path you want to take, the decision to attend a community college may be a smart one. As costs rise for four-year private and public colleges alike and students continue to take on substantial debt, your local community college is an important resource to get the education you need without breaking the bank. Read on to learn more about the benefits of community college.

Get a Jumpstart on Your Career

Depending on your interests, research lucrative careers that can be obtained without a four-year college degree. After you receive your community college certificate and become employed, you can choose to complete a bachelor’s and even continue on to a master’s degree at a four-year college. Some popular choices in this realm are nursing and other allied health professions, computer science, plumbing, electrical, construction careers and more. Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook to learn more about the educational path for careers you’re interested in.

Avoid Debt

Even if you choose a career for which a bachelor’s degree is required, attending community college for the first two years and then transferring can save you thousands of dollars in tuition, particularly since you won’t be incurring the debt of living on campus. In addition, many community colleges have programs that partner directly with four-year institutions, making it easy to transfer your credits when the time comes.

Take Advantage of Flexible Schedules

Because community college programs are designed to be accessible to working adults, there are a bevy of scheduling options including evening, weekend and online courses. This makes it easy to design a program that fits your schedule and lifestyle with flexibility that might not be possible from a four-year school, allowing you to care for children, work full-time and live your life in harmony with your education.

Boost Your Grade Point Average

If your high school career wasn’t stellar, you still have a chance to get into the four-year university of your dreams. By taking a year or two at community college to work hard and excel, you will develop a transcript that will impress admissions officers (and may even lead to scholarship opportunities). It’s also a good opportunity to develop close relationships with professors who can serve as references when you’re ready to apply to a four-year school.

Smaller Class Sizes

In many cases, community colleges tend to have smaller classes than large universities. This means that you’ll have increased access to your instructors if you have questions or need extra help. For those with learning disabilities, this is another aspect of community college that makes it an excellent option, since smaller class sizes may improve focus and retention.

The bottom line is that most students can benefit from spending time in community college, either as a substitute for or as a prelude to time at a four-year college or university. Opting to attend a community college is a smart choice both to save money, improve your career options and maintain a flexible, manageable lifestyle.

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