10 Reasons Why Community College Is Better Than University

by A Guest Author

Why Community College Is Better Than UniversityCommunity colleges: Your launch pad for a four year degree!

For the vast majority of us, getting into, to, and through college, all present steep challenges.  Tight admission policies, high tuition, the opportunity cost of full-time attendance, and academic pressure, all can block a student’s ambition to obtain a degree.   This represents a terrible waste of human potential, not to speak of dashing hopes in so many lives!  One solution is the local option; the USA’s fine community college system (and the planned future replication of this system in Europe).  This is a terrific launching pad for many careers, and also a very creditable departure point for transfer to a 4 year institution.  Let’s look at some advantages.

Money, money, money:

There is no question that community colleges represent one of the biggest bangs for your educational buck spent.  The costs are kept low because these institutions invest most heavily in facilities that are directly related to academics.  Expensive real estate such as dormitories and gyms tend to be the last to be added to a community college campus - if it can even be considered to have a campus!  Some community colleges actually occupy re-purposed spaces.  Bookstores, another expensive facility, tend to be contracted out to specialized management companies.  The result of this austere approach is a savings in building, debt service, and upkeep costs that community colleges pass on to their students in the form of lower tuition.  (Of course, some such institutions have stunningly beautiful campuses, but this is the exception.)

Furthermore, community colleges hire as instructors people who have a variety of backgrounds and educational degrees.  Whereas at the 4 year college level, it is almost impossible to get a position as more than a lecturer without a PhD (and the accompanying salary), at community colleges, highly experienced individuals with all sorts of degrees are enthusiastically staffing the classrooms, and glad of it.  They command a far lower salary, and this lower cost benefits the student as well.

These savings can help a graduate to start a business, or take a broadening trip to other lands upon completion of the Associates degree or certification.  Alternatively, such funds can go towards completing a further degree at an inevitably more costly four-year institution.

Working stiffs:

For some students, holding a job while pursuing a degree represents a necessity for keeping the larder, the closet, and the gas tank filled.  For others, it may be a way of introducing them to the adult world of work and its responsibilities, and a chance to try out one or another industry.  In either case, community college schedules and arrangements are built around the assumption that many students will be employed.  This means that you may be able to squirrel away a pot of funds to apply towards transfer to a four-year college.

Time value:

Because the community college model was intended to meet the needs of students who might well be fulfilling several responsibilities simultaneously, you can expect that scheduling will be flexible.  Night classes and other options other than midday, midweek time slots may be more available than in a four-year, residential college.  Perhaps you are raising a family or helping your parents with younger siblings.  Perhaps you are assisting with the care of an elderly relative.  Perhaps you are holding down one or more jobs.  You can be sure that you will find a diverse group of students similarly engaged, ready to sympathize and share strategies with you.  The instructors are also, by the way, likely to be handling another gig, whether teaching or working in local businesses, industry, or health care facilities.  They will understand and be willing to help you find ways to deal with your time conflicts, as long as you (and this is true in any educational setting):

  •  Are sincerely attempting to keep up with your assignments,
  • Are contributing in class,
  • Are demonstrating commitment and a good work ethic about your coursework.

You can also expect to be allowed to take a light course load and stretch out the time it takes to get your degree, if that arrangement meets your needs. That is not true at all 4 year institutions.  However, be aware that some government-sponsored tuition aid programs require that students maintain a minimum number of credits and attend without a hiatus.

Close to home:

Although some community colleges have erected dormitories in recent years, the overwhelming majority expect students to commute.  This permits an immense savings in living expenses. However, students need to budget in expenses for gas or public transit fares.

More importantly for some families, the student does not need to be disconnected from the family environment.  Some students are not ready for the multiple responsibilities and risks of living on their own, in combination with the stresses of maintaining their academic performance.

Alternatively, some families have deeply held objections to their kids rooming in mixed-gender housing, away from family protection and supervision, before marriage.  Community college answers those objections well.

By the way, the absence of dormitories at many community colleges does not mean that they will not welcome foreign matriculants.  Most will be happy to accept offshore applicants who are willing to travel to attend!   They even may have a special orientation and support program for foreign students.  There exists some sort of housing advice and referral office at any institution of higher learning, and lodgings in the community can generally be arranged.


Sadly, budget pressures have forced some community colleges to cut back on the amount of child care help that they can provide.  However, childcare for student parents is still a service that you are more likely to find at a local institution than at a four year college.  If you can take advantage of this resource, by the time you finish and contemplate a transfer for further education or other options, your child will be that much more independent, and you will be better positioned to concentrate on a four year program.

Certification programs:

Some jobs require training that is available, most conveniently, at community colleges.  They may also be the least costly way to pursue programs that prepare students to be nurse’s aides, paralegals, or funeral services directors, just to highlight some random examples.   If you have such ambitions, remember that community colleges have the mandate to prepare students for work.  If you can acquire a degree or certification, you could get a job, earn and salt away some savings to help pay for a four-year program.

Transcript repair:

Some of us kept our noses to the grindstone in high school.  Some of us did not.  So what can you do if you missed the memo, and spent your secondary school years goofing off or rebelling? Community college really constitutes a second chance.  Consider a talented woman in upstate New York State, who wasted her high school years hanging around with an older substance abusing felon.  Every parent’s nightmare, agreed?  At graduation she had no plan, and no money.  She scrambled to assemble an application to a community college some 40 minutes away, and managed to earn an invitation to Phi Theta Kappa, the two year college honor society.  She took a year off to earn some money, and is now enrolled at one of the State University of New York campuses specializing in the arts.  She may decide to take her rehabilitated academic record and apply for financial aid from a private four year college for her senior year.  It gives one hope!

Instructor attention:

The university environment often pressures professors to publish their research, or perish, taking them away from personal contact with their undergraduate students.  The result is that many never benefit from have much personal contact.  Instead, graduate assistants handle the personal face-to-face teaching in recitation sessions.  Not so in community colleges!  This is good preparation for small seminar settings at a four year college.

Additionally, the instructors are likely to have actually had some real world experience.  This can be very helpful in making job or internship contacts.

An early start:

For stellar students, or for those who know their life goals at a very young age, community colleges offer the chance to take college level subjects before leaving high school.

Making up deficiencies:

Whether the problem is study skills or English acquisition, many community colleges offer remedial programs to help bring students up to speed. Although they don’t like to acknowledge it, the community college often makes up for the failures of high schools.  This helps the student to prepare for success in a four year institution.

Use all these advantages of community colleges to help propel you along the route to your degree goals.

About The Author

Article by David Tucker, who is a professional editor and an avid blog writer. He works with Helpfupapers.com, which provides content writing services, dedicated to quality and customer satisfaction. David loves sharing his experience and the best reward for him are the thankful comments from his readers and followers.

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This post was written by A Guest Author

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