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Community College: Is It Right for You?

Community college or four-year college? The idea of attending a four-year college sounds awesome, doesn’t it? You get to do your thing whenever you want. You are on your own. You are making your own way. But let’s face it, a four-year college is not for everyone. Community college often is the right choice for a student, whether it is a short-term choice, a path to an associates or two-year degree, or part of a more affordable financial plan.

Why Choose Community College?

There are a wide variety of reasons that students choose a community college over a four-year university, such as paying less for general education courses, academic readiness, smaller class sizes, being not-quite-ready to leave home, or not knowing what direction to take in life.

General Education Requirements

One of the main focuses of a community college is to offer basic courses that are needed to meet general education requirements at a much lower cost. Check the cost of a credit hour for your local community college and compare it your preferred four-year university. Are you surprised by the savings?

How is Community College Different?

A community college has a different feel than a four-year college. An article in U.S. News and World Report reports that the average age of students can be slightly higher, and getting involved in campus activities takes more effort than at a four-year college. Students generally are “commuters” and they might live at home or are working full time to support themselves. In spite of differences – that can be perceived as drawbacks – the benefits can tip the scale in favor of choosing a community college.

How Can I Decide?

At  My College Planning Team, our Academic Team can help you work through the process of determining if community college is right for you. If community college is the best first step into higher education, we can guide you as you create an education plan for your future. If your end goal is to attend a four-year school, then this plan will include how to design a transfer plan with your academic advisor. You will want an academic plan so you are taking courses that do not waste time or money.  One important website to help you plan your academics from community college to your four-year college is Transferology.com.

Success Rate of Community College

Also, an important step in finding the right community college is to look at its success rate.  This rate will show you what percentage of students graduate from two-year (associate) programs and/or transfer to a four-year college.

Pride in Your Community College Decision

Your college choice should be your own–just because your best friend chooses a four-year school does not mean it is the right choice for you.  A wise high school teacher introduces himself with pride to the parents of his students each year as a graduate of the local community college AND the state flagship university.  He says that each college experience was an important and growthful step in his education.

 

Stephanie Kennedy

Stephanie Kennedy is president of Kennedy Educational Services and co-founder of My College Planning Team. Stephanie holds a Masters in Counseling and College Student Development. A former admissions counselor, she has read hundreds of college applications and assisted thousands of students in their college adjustment and educational path. With her hands-on perspective, she guides students and families in a successful college search that goes far beyond the acceptance letter.

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