Okay, maybe that's a cheezy headline, but attending community college does have a lot of community college advantages!
Now, I'm done.
Enough talking about community college advantages...
(And by the way, that's not me in the picture, it's Governor Patrick speaking at Bristol Community College)
If your heart is set on a career such as law or medicine that requires you to earn an advanced degree, you may wonder what benefit you could gain from attending a community college.
Contrary to what you might believe, community college isn’t just geared to career-oriented education.
In fact, beginning your higher education at a community college is an excellent avenue to transferring to a 4-year-bachelors program and eventually earning a master’s degree, whatever your age.
While many community college students save on room and board by living at home, even working adults can benefit from attending community college.
Advantage #1: Lower Tuition
Community colleges typically have much lower tuition than four year colleges or universities. In some cases, local students may pay even lower tuition than students from outside the area. Even so, community college students who need additional funds to complete their programs are eligible for federal financial aid, including interest-deferred student loans and Pell Grants, which do not have to be repaid.
Many community colleges have articulation agreements with area four-year institutions, which provide a guaranteed transfer of credits for students who complete all the requirements.
By completing the first two years of your undergraduate education at a community college, you can take advantage of saving on the regular cost of tuition and other educational expenses. In addition, once you graduate, you receive the same degree as students who completed all four years at the college or university. It's a great deal!
Advantage #2: Boost Your GPA
If you didn’t earn high grades in high school, you may have trouble being admitted to many colleges or universities. However, community colleges typically have open enrollment, which is like an academic second chance. Once you’re enrolled, you can boost your grade point average by doing well in courses related to your desired major, which can improve your chances for admission to a four-year institution.
If you want to learn more about boosting your gpa, read about how to become a top student.
Advantage #3: Remedial Classes
If you have gaps in your educational background, you may find it difficult to be admitted to a four-year institution. The same situation applies if you don’t speak, read or write English well. Even if you manage to gain admission to a four-year college or university, you may have trouble keeping up with your coursework.
Another set of community college advantages are offering a range of options to allow you to make up coursework gaps, including remedial classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, tutoring and study skills workshops.
Advantage #4: Flexible Schedule
If you need to work or have other family obligations, you may have difficulty combining work with school. Community college schedules are typically more flexible than schedules for four-year colleges and universities. For instance, community colleges frequently offer classes during the evenings, on weekends and even online, in addition to regular daytime classes. In many cases, students can combine on campus and online courses; some programs allow you to take advantage of completing all your required classes online. You may also attend community college classes part-time during periods where your other obligations are particularly heavy, and take more classes when your schedule allows you to do so.
Advantage #5: Wide Selection of Programs
For whatever educational or academic interest you might have, there is a community college program to be taken advantage of, including participating in volunteer or community college study abroad programs. You can even combine career-oriented classes with a pre transfer program to gain skills that can add to your value on the job market.
If you haven’t made up your mind what you want to study, you’re in good company. In fact, many students change their majors at least once during their college careers. Attending community college allows you to try out an array of options at a much lower tuition than you would pay at a four-year institution. Once you make the transfer, you’ll be more certain that you’ve chosen the right major.
To learn about the biggest of all community college advantages, see How To Transfer From Community College To Ivy League.
For Further Reading
- Advantages of Attending a Community College
- Community College: FAQs
- Students Aim for College Credit
- The Top 10 Benefits of Attending a U.S. Community College
About The Author
Guest Post contributed by Sarah Rawson. Sarah is studying for her Masters Degree in Communications online. Sarah is also a tutor and a freelance writer. Her articles mainly appear on education blogs.