College

The Benefit of Community College

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I had a hard time my senior year of high school deciding which college to attend. I didn’t really get into the schools I really wanted to go to but I wanted that college experience. I wanted to leave the house and be independent. In the end, I stayed home and attended the local community college. And I do not regret that decision at all. I was seventeen-years-old when I graduated high school and I was hardly mature enough to go off on my own. A lot of people think they’re ready when they’re not.

For those who decide to attend college, it can be difficult to pick a school, let alone decide whether to go to a 4-year or 2-year school. On top of that, most people don’t know what they want to do with themselves right out of high school. Some people even change their majors several times before they graduate. For those reasons, I highly support the notion of attending a 2-year school and then transferring to a 4-year school. Check out my reasons why:

It’s cost effective

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A community college is a fraction of the price tuition at 4-year universities. For example, my community college costs $46 per unit for local-residents or $199 for non residents, whereas my current 4-year university has an approximate tuition of $13,000 for in-state residents. and $38,000 for out-of state students. And that doesn’t even include the expenses for room and board, books, and food.

More assistance

Students can access many useful facilities to help them excel academically at both 2-year and 4-year colleges. However, 4-year schools often have larger classes in which the professor gives lectures and the students have section discussions with a teaching assistants–not the actual professor. In 2-year colleges the class sizes are generally on a smaller scale which makes it easier to have access to your professor. You can always go to your professor’s office hours at a 4-year school, but it’s more convenient if they see you on a regular basis.

Location

Most people attend the closest community college to their house. I got lucky and happen to live right down the street from the local school. I was able to walk there when needed or go back  to my house between classes. It’s convenient because I have easy access to my house and my family if anything should ever happen. While I am currently attending a 4-year university that I love, it is at least 4 or 5 hours away from my hometown. Here, I’m stuck with washer machines that are overpriced and can only fit a half-load of clothes. I also have to rely on myself for food and have to carefully budget my money.

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Therefore, when I’m low on my money I have to deal with it and wait until my parents can wire some over to me. Trust me: people don’t realize how convenient it is to live at home with their parents until they move away.

Maturity

Attending a community college first gave me the opportunity to acclimate to the college environment—especially since you take classes with people of all ages there. I have several friends who weren’t mature enough or sure of what they wanted to study and came back after a year or so at a 4-year school. At community college. I was able to complete my general education there and some of my core classes for my English major. I was also able to make friends and even bond with some of the teachers. I was given a paid internship my last semester there. With my time at my local community college I was able to mature enough to the point that I was mentally ready to make the transition from a 2-year to a 4-year school. It also helped me confirm that I wanted to continue to pursue a degree in English.

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While there is no inherent rush to finish college, it is beneficial for those who are unsure of themselves to attend a community college first to save themselves the hassle.

So think about going to a 2-year college first before attending a 4-year college. I hope you’ll really take the time you need to get to know your strengths or weaknesses, and nurture yourself to the point where you are mature enough to live on your own.

Photos: Cover, 1, 2, 34

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