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Gen Eds before 4-year?

My mother is imploring me to get my Gen Eds out of the way at the local community college, then move on to a 4-year institution. But, I truly wish to go straight to a 4-year school, despite the higher cost. Economically, I'm aware that the local school is the right way to go, but I desire to move and gain my independence as a young adult.

#college #money #college-bound #college-advice

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Katy’s Answer

Savanna,

My question to you is: how will your education be paid and by whom?


If your parents are going to pay entirely out of pocket for your education, I'd suggest at least starting at the community college level, as they are generally just as good as a University, and generally a little easier. You can save your parents money while getting used to the college atmosphere, and after a year, your grades will be good, and you can look for more merit-based scholarship money at a University. Looking back, if I had known how many of my college classes were essentially going to be repeats of my high school courses, I would probably have gone to a community college to get them out of the way quickly and easily, before going to my University. It would have saved me thousands.


If you are planning on taking out loans for your education, then I will also implore you to consider community college. Most offer a great amount of financial aid to begin with, are much less expensive, and you won't end up graduating with $20-40k in debt when you do go to the 4-year school. Loans are not fun- ask someone who knows. The date that I will have to begin to pay back my loans is impending, and it's looming over my head like a demon. $400 a month, every month, for the next 50 years of your life is NOT worth whatever you think you'll be getting from a 4-year that you can't get at the community college level.


If you'll be going entirely on scholarship, then by all means, go to the 4-year and enjoy your free education. Just remember, there are always extenuating circumstances to consider. You'll have to work really hard to pay for housing, on top of being a student at a much more difficult school.


Now, you absolutely don't have to go to a community college. If you, your parents, and some scholarship will be sending you to school, the answer can be a little different. I went to a local University and lived at home throughout college. If I had lived on my own, I would be even further in debt, but I had a balance where I did have to pay out of pocket, and take out loans, but I also had some scholarship money. I finished my B.S. with about $24k in debt. Not good, but not bad either. It's still too much for me to handle, really. I enjoyed my time in college, but it wasn't worth the "Sticker price" either. You can be just as involved on a CC campus as a University campus.


Whatever you decide to do, truly consider all the pro's and con's of both options. So many people think going to community college is lame, makes you look bad, or is embarrassing. I can assure you, that when you finish your Bachelor's with no or very little debt, you'll think differently. However, if you truly need to fly the nest, then you can do that! Just consider the full cost of what you want to do, whether you pay it now or later.


https://owlcation.com/academia/8-Benefits-of-Attending-Community-College-Before-a-Four-Year-University

https://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/slideshows/10-reasons-to-attend-a-community-college?slide=12

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Keith’s Answer

Hi Savanna,

Although community college is almost certainly a better value, I do think it's important to consider what you want. The concern I always have when people are pushed to a community college instead of a four-year institution is that the planned transfer to an undergraduate degree never occurs. If you end up delaying or not getting an undergraduate degree, that is a false economy. You will need to really evaluate which is a better fit for you. Cost is a part of that, but not the only part. And, you should be sure to find out how much a four-year institution will really cost--the "sticker price" is probably not what your family will really need to pay.


Keith
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Richard’s Answer

You will be glad you took your mother's advice when it comes time to repay your loans. Many students today graduate with out-of-control debt and they are still paying it down when they should be saving for their future.
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