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What are the benefits of going to community college before transferring to a university?

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Daisy’s Answer

I found that attending community college before transferring to a university was beneficial to me as a student who was undecided on my major. It allows you to explore different career and major options before selecting one and having to stay with that one because you don't want to do extra time at the university. I also found that a community college can save many students money because you complete 2 years there and then go to the University of your choice. If you are a first year student starting at a community college in California there are a lot of programs that help you with your first year of tuition.

Daisy recommends the following next steps:

Visit local community colleges and inquire about their transfer center
Research local community colleges

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Charles ADAM’s Answer

There are several benefits to going to a community college before transferring to a university. The biggest and most obvious is cost. A university will require the same core classes offered in a community college setting that you complete the first 2 years. You can realize a significant savings in tuition and room and board by going to a community college. Several states have programs that allow students to attend community college for little or no money at all Many also work full time as they attend community college, saving money to put towards their University education.

Another great benefit is the support and often smaller class sizes in a community college. Professors may be more accessible or even more engaged in your success.

A third benefit is that often times students aren't really sure what they may want to really do for a career. Community colleges often have a variety of students and faculty with career experience from a multitude of disciplines!

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Jesus’s Answer

A lot of community colleges have great transfer programs. If you pick the right community college they could have a program with the University you want to transfer to. This will allow you to save a substantial amount of money on tuition as well.

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Julie’s Answer

I went to a community college and then transferred to a 4 year college. The benefit was the lower cost of classes also smaller school and class sizes can help you to be able to adjust to college life. I came from a smaller town and it was nice to be able to transition into a much larger university.

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Nick’s Answer

i went to community college before transferring and i can tell you, for me it was crucial. One of the big things, your degree will say where you graduated from. not all the road you choose to get there. Also, cost. its so dramatically different. i found one of the biggest differences from my peers and I, college debt. I am debt free and they are not. I was able to use community college to keep my costs low.

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Rachel’s Answer

Lower cost is by far the biggest advantage. That being said, you may also get higher grades at a community college versus a more competitive 4 year university.

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Marleigh’s Answer

The other comments on here have touched on this repeatedly, but I will give my personal perspective on this. Because I had to work 30 hours a week, community college was a lifesaver for me. It provided me with a flexible schedule and plenty of classes to choose from at different times of day.

Additionally, when I began at my community college I was under the impression that I wanted to pursue a degree in psychology. Taking psych 101 completely changed my perspective and I realized right away that it was not my passion. The class was not expensive, and I was not under pressure to choose my major within my first semester of college. I was 18 and had no idea, yet, what I wanted to do with my life. Community College allowed me the time and space to make an informed decision before I went to university.

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Judith’s Answer

Completing a two year program affords an opportunity to complete GE coursework with minimum costs. It’s also an excellent opportunity to choose a major if you are not certain what your emphasis will be.

Judith recommends the following next steps:

If you are still unsure of what you want, you can take testing with your counselors at the JC
When transferring to a four year university, tour the campus to be sure it is a good fit.
In four years after your degree, it does not matter so much where you get your degree but what you have done with your degree.
When investigating schools, check into availability of internships in the program in the school of your choice. Graduating with work experience in your field is a door opener for a permanent position after commencement.

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Jordan’s Answer

As someone that attended community college before attending UC Santa Barbara for my undergrad and Harvard University for my graduate school, I believe that attending community college is a fantastic pathway to pursue higher education pursuits.

#1 First of all, going to community college allows students to explore and test out the higher education waters. You can explore your interests without the financial and academic pressures. Your classes will be smaller and a lot of the teachers are well-trained in instruction and not necessarily research focused like universities.

#2 Perhaps, the greatest reason to go to community college is the financial flexibility it provides. Community college is significantly more affordable compared to universities.

#3 Also, many community colleges have deals with universities (e.g. the UC schools in California have the TAG agreement which guarantees acceptance if a student has enough credits and a high enough GPA). Also, universities like to see that transfer students from community college have already proved themselves in regard to the academic rigor of higher education.

I can personally say that my classes at community college were no less impactful and thought-provoking than my graduate courses at Harvard or my classes at UC Santa Barbara.

Jordan recommends the following next steps:

Make a list of your pros and cons for attending community college
Visit your local community colleges or research community colleges that you may be interested in
Schedule a visit with your desired community college transfer center to discuss higher education pursuits beyond community college via transferring.

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Richard’s Answer

If you can keep your expenses down (live with parents, attend community college which can be free in some cities, complete your degree at an inexpensive public institution etc) debt doesn't have to be out of control. However the typical student does not do everything they can to decrease expenses then has to be stressed during their first years of your career

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Heather’s Answer

One extremely important benefit is cost. Attending a community college can be a wise choice if you want or need to save money. Community colleges generally cost less than four-year colleges. Cost is extremely important. Many four-year colleges are charging outrageous tuition which results in many students graduating from college with huge debts. Also, community college may give you the opportunity to save even more money by living at home with your parents. In this way, you dont have to pay for housing, meals, etc.

A community college might also be beneficial if you have not yet decided upon a career because you will spend less money while you're deciding than if you attend a four-year college. Again, financial savings are a factor for many students when considering college. Keep in mind, though, that many students still haven't decided on a career path by the time they graduate from college. This situation is not ideal, but it is normal. So don't feel worried if you still have not decided on a specific career.

Community college might also be a better fit for some students. Leaving one's community to attend a four-year college can be uncomfortable or frightening for some students. In such cases, going to a local community college might be a good choice. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way. Remember, this is YOUR college experience and YOUR life. You should choose wisely according to your own, personal needs.

Also, many community colleges often offer associate degrees and certifications for certain jobs. Perhaps this is all you need for the career you want to pursue. For example, the community college in my location offers associate degrees in nursing, whereby students are RN's by the end of the coursework. Find out if your community college offers training for your career field.

Some advice I would give is to set a goal for what you want to achieve, look at your finances closely, and then make a decision about whether or not you attend a community college. This is a big decision, so choose what is logical for your situation. What's right for you might not be right for someone else, so think for yourself!

Heather recommends the following next steps:

Set a goal.
Make a plan to reach the goal.
Think carefully about your finances. It's great if you can graduate with little to no debt.
Fill out applications.
Get started! Good luck!