Should you attend a community college for your first two years?

So, you're about to graduate high school and you've drawn up a short list of potential degree programs to set you on your path to a new and exciting career. Now, it's time to start thinking about filling out college applications – but what about community colleges? What are the benefits of attending this type of educational institution? Some students attend community colleges for two years, earn their associate's degree, and can frequently use these credits towards a bachelor's degree at four-year schools.

One of the most important benefits of attending a community college for your first two years is how much money you can save on tuition. Completing two years of community college can save you a substantial amount of money. You can take many of your general education classes at a community college before transferring your credits to a traditional four-year college. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, tuition at such institutions is less than half the cost of a public four-year college, and less than one-tenth that of private four-year universities.

You can also save money on room and board by attending a community college. Since they are so common, chances are you'll be able to find a good community college close to where you live, so you can attend while living at home. This can be valuable if you're not sure about which major to choose, or are worried about moving out of state to attend a four-year college.

Another advantage of completing basic course requirements at a community college is that the faculty at this type of establishment is focused more on actual teaching instead of research, meaning that there will probably be more help available in subject areas you may be struggling with.

Attending a two-year community college can also be a great way to experiment with different subjects in an environment with less pressure. For students who don't necessarily know which major they want to choose right off the bat, taking a variety of classes at a community college can be a great way to find out what subjects appeal to you, what you're good at, and try out new things you may not be able to in a four-year degree program.

Unlike four-year universities, community institutions have an open-door college admissions policy, which means that not only do you not have to worry about your grades or SAT scores as much, you can also work on improving your GPA before transferring credits to a four-year college. As well as benefiting your college application to more prestigious universities, it can demonstrate to college admissions officials that you are serious about your education and committed to improving your grades. Find out if the four-year colleges you're thinking of applying to will accept transfer credits from community colleges before making any decisions about whether this path is right for you.  

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  1. Susie Watts says:

    As a private college counselor, I would like to suggest one more way that community colleges can benefit students. Some students attend a four year college or university but take a course or two at their local community college during the summer to ensure that they will have the hours necessary to graduate in four years. Community colleges are also a good way for students to take some core curriculum courses and get them out of the way before they even begin college.

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