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There are a few major differences between Community College and Universities. Oftentimes the words “community college” have a pretty bad connotation. To people like me, who worked their butts off in high school in order to attend a good four-year university, it meant failure. Attending community college was like saying all my work amounted to nothing.

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However, due to the fact that my major was full at my school and I had to defer my enrollment, I was met with the one thing I had tried so hard to avoid: going to a community college.

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Now, my views of community college have drastically changed. Community college does not mean the same thing it did for me in high school. Now, it is merely my stepping stone. To those who think going to community college is worse than going to a four-year university, here are a few good reasons as to why community college is not really a bad choice:

1. The Cost

Unlike four-year universities, majority of community colleges cost only about $17,000 per year, and if you’re smart enough to apply for as much, and any, financial aid as possible, you can find that you may not even have to pay for anything. Attending community college for the first few years and then transferring could cut your college costs nearly by half.

2. The Convenience of Staying Home

One thing that’s convenient about community college is that you don’t have the dorm. Since community college tends to be close enough to commute to, you don’t have to pay for living expenses. And while at first it may seem embarrassing to be living with your parents while you’re now technically an adult, later on you’ll be glad you got to stay home for another year or so—especially when you have to start paying for your own bills. Also, if you plan on going to college on the opposite side of the country from where you live, like me, you’ll be glad to have the extra time to spend with your family before you’re left with the choice of visiting only every summer and holiday.

3. The Extra Time

One of the reasons why most people attend community college is to give themselves more time to pick the college and major that is right for them. The majority of college students change their major at least once. So instead of wasting money at a four-year university taking different classes and changing your major several times (and thus paying for more classes), going to community college is a great alternative. Classes are cheaper, and you have more liberty in choosing classes that interest you and finding out what you want to do without the consequence of having to change your major and rework your education plan. By the time you take a few community college classes and explore into different areas of interest, you have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to do.

4. The Preparation for Transferring

Nowadays, it’s becoming more difficult to get accepted into a good four-year university, especially state universities, because freshman classes are so impacted and universities are starting to accept less and less students as the competition gets tougher. However, if you attend community college for your first year or two, and then apply to a four year university, your chances of getting accepted increase tremendously. That is because as people go throughout college, more tend to drop out around their sophomore and junior year, opening up spaces for people who want to transfer in later on, so the competition isn’t as tough. Also, if you screwed up in high school by not doing well, joining Honors classes, or doing as many extracurricular activities as you should have, community college is great way to make up for that. You’ll be able to restart from scratch and make your transcript look as great as possible, and by doing this, you could get accepted into a school you would have never had the chance of getting into when you were in high school.

So don’t be discouraged when you’re left with the choice of community college. Instead, use it to your advantage and get as much as possible done there so that you have the best transfer choices available when you’re finally ready to move forward.

What are your thoughts on Community College vs. Universities?


GIFs via Giphy; featured photo via Thinkstock