Many parents have a hard time letting their little birds leave the nest. Even though most realize that kids eventually have to take the lessons of youth into the world and forge a path, they may want to protect and guide their children as long as possible (even if kids are chomping at the bit in their excitement to clear the starting gate). But aside from a desire to keep an eye on their progeny, there are several reasons why many parents these days are electing to keep kids closer to home and put them through the community college system. Here are just a few considerations that could make community college preferable to other institutions of higher learning, at least at the outset.
1. Cost. There’s just no denying that college is expensive, especially with state and federal funding being cut, resulting in higher tuition and fees. People in this country have come to see the collegiate path as a right rather than a privilege, but with costs on the rise it seems to be reverting back to a state where only the privileged (read: wealthy) can attend. Of course, community college can help to equalize the situation. By providing lower cost options for students seeking to better themselves (and their shot at a rewarding career), these schools could just make the difference for parents and students that simply can’t afford the expense of a 4-year school. This is especially true when you consider that pulling good grades over the course of two years at community college could result in scholarships for the final two years of a bachelor’s program.
2. Proximity. Since community colleges are generally within the community, students who opt to attend them can save on living expenses by staying at home for a couple more years. This is not only good for the parents’ pocketbooks, but it can help to make the college transition a little less abrupt for both students and their parents.
3. Requirements. There are always going to be students that slack off a bit during high school, only to discover that their lackluster grades will not qualify them for their school of choice. This is a pretty harsh wakeup call, but community college can help. The lower GPA requirements mean that even the less studious have a second chance. And students that apply themselves at the community college level have the opportunity to transfer to their school of choice at a later date.
4. Preparedness. Let’s not beat around the bush, here – some kids just aren’t ready to leave the nest and face the cold, cruel world as adults. Some are a little burned out after high school, but rather than letting them take a year off, parents decide to keep them at home and let them take a little break with a couple of easy starter classes at the local community college. It will keep college at the forefront of their thoughts even as they blow off some steam before hunkering down to the task of earning a degree. Others just aren’t ready to take on responsibility for every aspect of their lives and they need another year or two to adjust to the idea and ease into the college experience. Either way, community college can help both students and parents to make the transition from home and high school to heading off to college.
5. Time to decide. Even students that seem to know exactly what they want to do with their lives may end up waffling down the road when it comes to pulling the trigger on a decision that could determine the course of their professional lives. Whether a kid is shooting for an undergraduate degree in business or has long-term goals to complete a masters in political science, there’s no guarantee that he’ll stick with it once he’s experienced other disciplines. And most kids don’t have the faintest notion of what they want to major in. Community college will give them a chance to focus on completing general education and hopefully provide the extra time needed to decide on a major (or at least get an associate’s degree in the meantime).