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What is better: going into a four-year university as "undeclared" or going to a community college for the first two years of school?

I am a senior in high school, and I don't know what I want to study in college. I'm currently taking IB classes which should cover my freshman year in college. I have an easy access to a community college system. I also have a high probability of getting into a 4 year school, economically speaking. #undergraduate #undeclared

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Yolonda’s Answer

I think if you know you want to graduate with a Bachelors degree eventually you should definitely attend a 4-year university so that you don't have to worry about your credits transferring or not transferring.

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Simeon’s Answer

Going to community college is usually a path used to make things more affordable and is a good option if it reduces the amount of debt you'll take on as part of the college experience. In your case, where it sounds like the main consideration is you undeclared major, I would go to the four year university anyways. You'll have access to their registrars and counselors who have resources to help you discern a major and makes sure that you don't take the wrong courses early on. If you go the community college route, you'll need to be in communication with the university you plan on finishing your degree at to make sure that you are taking the right courses at community college and don't miss any mandatory classes by accident.
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Anup’s Answer

Dan Johnston does college aid presentations and workshops at over 50 high schools each year as the Regional Director of Pennsylvania’s Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). One of his most frustrating examples of bad college advice is: “If you don’t know what major you want, go as an undeclared student. You can decide on your major after a few basic courses.”


Johnston says that, “For most students that is the worst advice possible. Granted, there will always be students whose best initial choice is undeclared, but they represent a very small percentage of students. The idea that a large number of students without a career plan can take a few basic courses, then suddenly ‘find’ themselves (to the tune of $20,000 to $50,000 per year), is sadly pathetic and needlessly expensive.”


A better option is to audit a college course as a high school student or attend a community college and take a few courses without the big expense of attending full-time at a four-year college. Some high schools now offer dual enrollment with colleges so that high school students can earn college credits while still attending high school.


Going to college as an undeclared major often leads to students having to spend extra semesters or years in college to get the classes that they need for the major that they eventually choose. Often those students take on more debt as a result.


With all due respect, however, choosing a major is no easy decision in today’s world. The pace of change in the workplace is so rapid that today’s hot field of study may lead to the unemployment line by the time a student graduates four years later.

Thank you comment icon Hi Anup. Did you write this? It doesn't really sound like a direct response to Jesus' question. We definitely want to make sure Jesus gets personalized advice, which is the whole reason CareerVillage.org exists! Also, in general, we always ask our Professionals to cite their sources, whether the source for the material is personal experience, or second hand experience, or some research source, or something else. Thanks! Jared Chung, Admin BACKER
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