Because of this trend, it seems that going to community college first has lost some of the stigma it used to have with recent graduates, since even sharp, academically solid students are going to community college first.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to follow this trend, here are just five major reasons that you may want to consider going to community college before university.
5 Reasons to Go to Community College Then Transfer to University
1. Save on Tuition
The number one reason that most students choose to go to a community college before transferring to a university is tuition costs.
The NCES Fast Facts website notes that in the 2010-11 school year, the cost for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at four-year public universities cost about $13,600, compared with $23,500 for private, for-profit universities.
That’s a huge difference, but compare it to the $8,900 average at a two-year community college tuition cost, and see the savings add up!
Community colleges often have lower tuition because of lowered costs – fewer research costs, more affordable non-doctorate-holding faculty, and less property to maintain.
These savings are passed on to you, and they mean that you could save tens of thousands of dollars on tuition by going to community college for 2 years before jumping into a university environment – even in-state public school.
2. Save on Room and Board
The above numbers from NCES included room and board, but it’s important to think about just how much you can save on room and board by going to a community college and continuing to live at home until you transfer to university.
Assuming your not living at a community college with housing, most parents with full-time college students who live at home won’t charge rent, and your family may continue to provide you with most of your meals, too 😉
This alone can save you thousands of dollars per year!
Unless you live close by to a four-year university, you may be unable to live at home during your entire college career.
So save some money on the front end by living at home and attending a community college then transfer to university after 2 years.
3. Finish Up the Basics
2 year community colleges are great for completing the basic math, English, science, and humanities credits you’ll need for a degree from just about anywhere else.
The great part is that at a community college, the professors are paid to teach – not to research – which means that they’re often more available to help you one on one with subjects you struggle in.
So if your plan is to get a degree in law or English but you know you’ll need a semester or two of math to meet your basic requirements, consider taking those math classes at a community college.
If you struggle, you’re more likely to get the help you need to succeed, and you can easily transfer community college credits to university.
One caveat here is to make sure you aren’t paying for courses that will mean nothing when you do transfer to a university.
If you already have a major and eventual university in mind, call them up to get the exact degree requirements, and find out how many credits and what types of credits you can transfer towards your degree.
4. Think About What You Want
Many of today’s high school graduates are faced with so many options and so much conflicting advice that they have no idea what they want to do with their lives.
This makes choosing a major very difficult!
There’s no sense in spending ten thousand bucks a semester at a university if you’re not even sure you’re going in the right direction!
Going to a community college for a couple years then transfer to university can free students up to figure out what they’re interested in – without the high prices.
If you don’t know what you want to major in, make it a point to take one or two classes a semester in an area that you think you might like.
If you enjoy the subject matter, go deeper into it the next semester.
If not, cross that potential major off your list.
Experimenting at a local community college education gives you credits you can transfer later, and it also lets you play around with different ideas without throwing a ton of money down the tuition drain!
5. Boost Your Academic Record
Maybe you’re a student who didn’t take school seriously during high school – or not until your senior year.
If you’ve graduated high school with a questionable academic record, you may not be able to get into the four-year university of your choice.
If this is the case, go to a community college to boost your academic record.
Then, you'll have a decent shot at transferring from community college to Ivy League.
Most community colleges will accept any paying student, no matter his or her academic record.
So take a few classes at a community college, work hard to excel, and maintain a high GPA.
Then you can re-apply to four-year universities showing them that even though you weren’t serious about school in high school, you’re serious now!
Community College Then Transfer Is The Smart Move
As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons to consider going to a community college then transferring to a four-year university.
While not every student will or even should take this course, it’s definitely worth considering for any student who wants to save money on her college education or who isn’t sure what he wants to do yet.
To learn more, read how to become a top student at community college.