Most community colleges are two-year institutions. There are many reasons that attending community college for two years and then transferring to a 4-year university is a good idea. However, there may be a few circumstances in which choosing this path may not be beneficial for you. Understanding the benefits and downsides of attending community college will help you make a more informed decision:
Lower Tuition Fees
The cost of attending community college is typically significantly less than that of most private colleges. By completing your first two years in community college and then transferring (also known as a 2+2 program), you are saving a substantial amount of money just by way of the tuition fees.
In addition, community colleges also offer small scholarships and tuition breaks to students who can demonstrate need. If you are one of these students, the community college is a great place to start.
Just the thought of starting your adult life without being buried under thousands of dollars in debt is a strong enough incentive to attend community college first.
You Can Knock Out the Basics Quickly
For some students, completing collegiate general education classes is much simpler (and more affordable) at a community college than at a four-year institution. Most community colleges offer credit transfers to nearby four-year schools, and this can be extremely helpful if you would prefer to get gen eds out of the way quickly.
Smaller Class Sizes
If the idea of being “just a number” at a larger university is not very appealing to you, or if you just don’t like a large sprawling, crowded campuses, then a community college may suit your needs perfectly. Community colleges generally offer smaller class sizes, which also means more attention to those who may need a little help.
You’ll Be Closer to Home
Whether you love the idea of being close to home or other commitments require to be closer to home, studying in a community college allows you to do just that without having to forego your higher education.
Many community colleges have also increased offerings, and those who are looking for fast-track career training can find it right in their hometown, right where they are.
When It May Not Be a Good Idea to Attend Community College First
Just like any other educational institution, it is just not practical for any one community college to offer all courses. If your chosen major is one that requires you to take very specific courses for the first two years and if those courses are not being offered at a community college, this may not be the right path for you.
Only you can make the decision as to whether or not attending a community college first is the right choice for you. This is a decision you must make taking into consideration your financial situation and your academic and career goals.
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