Community college might not be your first choice when considering the path to take after you’ve graduated high school, but there are other benefits you might not be aware of by pursuing this option. Attending college tends to be expensive and a 2-year school can significantly reduce this cost, but there are other advantages of attending that you should consider before making the decision about your future. Keep these five benefits of community college in mind when deciding which schools to apply to.
Resource: The 50 Best Online Community Colleges
2-year schools are less expensive than 4-year universities due to their smaller sizes. Tuition, fees and housing expenses add up quickly. The CollegeBoard estimates that the average cost for 2-year schools is $2,963, while a 4-year university is an average of $9,000. Putting the first two years in at a local school can equal thousands of dollars in savings. Select a school that allows you to transfer your credits to an accredited 4-year university since the first two years tend to be the same general education requirements regardless of which school you attend.
Close to home
It may be a viable option to attend one of these schools if you aren’t quite ready to leave home yet. You can learn how college varies from high school while keeping familiar elements around you to make the transition smoother, enhancing the experience and giving you more confidence in your abilities along with better performance. It also gives you an opportunity to improve your skills and grades before diving into your preferred Bachelor’s degree program. You’ll also learn valuable skills such as time management, study strategies, and independent learning.
Smaller class sizes
A smaller class size means you’ll get more individual attention and help if you need. They also give you more opportunity to meet people and allow your professors to get to know you on an individual basis as opposed to simply being a number. You’ll be able to have easier access to office hours and find that your professors have significantly more time than they would in a large class where teacher’s assistants handle most of the grading and help for students.
Alternative training or certification
Some schools give you an opportunity to get a certification instead of a 4-year degree. These can include professions such as dental assistants, mechanics or medical transcription. Traditional “unskilled” labor is an option for those who don’t want to pursue longer programs, but still want to have a decent earning potential for their future career. It’s also an option for people who don’t want to accumulate too much debt before jumping into the working world.
Explore career options
You might not know what you want to do for the rest of your life and smaller, local schools give you the option to explore the various programs available to you. You can complete your general education requirements with a couple different electives to see where your interests lie before committing to a 4-year program that doesn’t end up being what you want to do for the rest of your life. Changing your major in the middle of your program could add anywhere from one to four extra semesters to your degree path.
Don’t overlook these advantages that community college can offer you. You’ll be happy that you took the time to consider these benefits before making such a big decision affecting your future.