Community colleges have the unfair reputation that they offer educational opportunities that are below the standards of traditional four-year institutions. This runs contrary to the fact that many community colleges have programs academically on par with their counterparts, and even offer some opportunities that other colleges or post-secondary education choices lack. Consider some of the benefits that a community college can offer.
Perhaps the most popular aspect of community colleges, the cost is often a fraction of four-year schools. Even with rising tuition costs, they present a more affordable choice. The average annual cost of a traditional college is around $30,000, while a community college will not cost you more than $5,000 per year. Because community colleges are likely located near your home, you save the money you would spend living on campus. You also have access to many of the same financial aid options as four-year college students.
Another community college advantage is the flexibility. Most of these institutions have a smaller class size and often attract much older students with other jobs or careers. Therefore, you can attend community college classes during the day or night and take courses at your own pace. The professors don’t have to complete academic research, so they have more time to assist students. Whether you have a full-time job, family members to take care of, or another circumstance that prevents you from pursuing a degree full-time, you can receive a high-quality education without excessive cost or commitment of time.
Open Admission Policies
Most community colleges have an open-door admission policy that admits students who can provide a high school diploma or a GED. While some community colleges may request your ACT or SAT scores during the admission process, they will not take these into consideration as strongly as four-year institutions. If your high school scores aren’t strong, community college gives you the opportunity to access career development classes and resources and to show that you can do academic work. If you plan on transitioning to a four-year college, the community college scores will be given more weight than the high school ones. Just remember to register on time to guarantee admission to your chosen program.
Experience for Indecisive Students
Community colleges are often used as an experimental or transitional period for some indecisive students. If you are not entirely sure about a specific major or the concept of attending college in general, community college gives you a taste of the field and university life at a lower cost and with fewer demands. Additionally, if you want to attend a four-year college, but are not ready to handle aspects such as a large campus population or independent life, then community college helps you transition from one institution to the other.
As you decide on your future career path, keep in mind the benefits that a community college offers. If you identify with any of the needs above, these institutions can provide you with the best tools to succeed in your chosen career.