Many college students find themselves attending community college before moving on to the education provided by a traditional four-year college or university. Some people may do this so that they’re close to home while others may do it to save money.
Going to a community college for a few years does not mean that you’re not smart enough for traditional college—it simply means that you’re taking your time to figure it all out. The following are a few benefits of attending a community college before a four-year university.
1. Save Money
Community colleges charge much less per credit hour than traditional universities. In order to receive your bachelor’s degree, you need to complete 120 hours of class. And since you have to pay per credit hour, you’re dishing out money for 120 hours.
If you plan on attending a public university after community college, you’ll notice that the amount you pay per credit hour is double what it was at the community college. If you plan on attending a private university, you could end up spending 10 times what you did at a community college.
If you attend a four-year university, you will also need to spend a large sum of money on room and board. By attending a community college, you can live at home while attending class, which will help add money to your savings account.
Whether you want to save money on tuition or save money on living expenses, attending a community college first is a great way to go about it.
2. Get your general education classes out of the way.
When you attend a four-year university, they require that along with the classes needed for your major, you also need to complete a few basic classes, such as english, math and science. Instead of spending money on these classes at the four-year school, you can get them out of the way at the community college. This way, when you attend the four-year university to get your bachelor’s you will have all the basic requirements out of the way so you can focus on those needed for your degree.
3. Pick your major.
There are plenty of students who attend a four-year university who still don’t know what they want to major in. Many students attend college undecided. Use time at a community college to figure out what it is you want to do with your life. You can easily take classes that focus on different majors to figure out what you like best. With a community college, you could take three or four different classes to determine your major, and you’ll still end up spending way less than you would on one class at a four-year college.
4. Boost your academic profile.
If you weren’t the best high school student, community college allows you to change that. Take the time at college to study hard and earn good grades. When it comes time to applying at a four-year college, they won’t focus solely on your less than stellar high school GPA, and will instead notice the drastic improvement you made. This can help get you into a college you once wouldn’t have been accepted to, and it will show the academic advisors that you are now more motivated to work on your education.
Community college offers an array of benefits to students. Not only can you get your general ed classes out of the way, but you can also figure out what it is you want to major in and save some money while doing so. Plus, most students find that attending community college first better prepares them for a four-year college.
Ben Myers is a college English professor. He is currently grading a huge stack of Animal Farm essays. In his spare time, Ben likes to study about learning methods and learning disabilities.