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What are the benefits of attending a community college first?

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What are the pros and cons of attending a 2 year institution before transferring to a 4 year Vs attending a 4 year the entire time?
#community-college #university #college

2 answers

Alexandra’s Answer

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It’s helpful because it saves money. Attending community college adds up to some serious savings, because the cost is much less than 4-year universities. I got an AA degree from my local community college before transferring to a University because my courses were about $500 less per semester EACH! I would recommend looking into what you want to get a bachelors degree in, checking into the University’s required coursework, and then asking an advisor at the community college help you find out what the exact transfer courses would be for the two schools. That way, you don’t end up taking unnecessary courses you don’t need. Some basic courses are almost universally transferable, like English Composition and Intro Psych, but you can still double check to make sure. Good luck!

Matthew’s Answer

Updated

College is a very valuable experience and well worth the investment in both time and money. As you consider your choices, there are many factors that come into play. These can include: Grades and SAT/ACT Scores (used for college admissions/scholarships), financial situation, current and future cultures, family circumstance, etc. 

A community college can, although not always, provide a student with the opportunity for a lower cost path for some of the required courses needed for a degree. This is due to a lower per credit hour fee and, depending on location, ability to live at home. Additionally, if in your local community, it may have shared values and cultural aspects for which you are familiar. Some of the benefits need to be validated, especially if you plan to transfer later to a four year program. This includes ensuring the classes are accredited, meet the requirements of your degree, can be transferred in full to your new institution, and adequately prepare you for your next college's level of education.

 A community college can also provide the benefit of getting one used to self-management and scheduling for university life. It introduces a student to a different way of life than high school, including schedules, diverse people, financial requirements and work/activities. 

If you decide to go to a community college first and then transfer, make sure to review a few other potential impacts. Are you passing up a scholarship/financial aid at the four year institution that may not be available to a transfer, but only to an incoming freshman? What are the transfer rules regarding timing, course work, admissions? How many hours must be completed at the four year institution to earn a degree?

For more information, I recommend doing a search for articles as well. Here is one that also captures some of what I shared from my personal experiences. https://www.scholarships.com/resources/college-prep/choosing-the-right-school/the-pros-and-cons-of-community-colleges/

Matthew recommends the following next steps:

  • Sit down with your school counselor and discuss your goals, objectives and options
  • Create a T bar chart, and list on one side the Pros and on the other the Cons for your particular situation. Grades, financial, money, family, living conditions, degree, resources, admissions, culture, friends, etc.
  • Do an internet search on "Benefits of attending community college" and read some of the articles and opinions