Community College Questions
There are so many variables involved in where a person attends college and that includes community colleges as well as four-year colleges. To get you started, consider how you answer the following five questions when deciding the best place to further your education.
1. Financially, what can I (my parents) afford? Even this question encompasses many factors - Am I living at home and attending college?, Is there a four-year college or state university in my hometown?, Have I submitted a FAFSA for colleges to determine if I am eligible for financial aid that may offset the price tag of a four-year college?
2. Did I struggle to graduate from high school and are my SAT/ACT scores low (or non-existent)? Community college can be an excellent place to gain your academic footing before moving on to a four-year college/university. However, just because the community college doesn't usually require SAT or ACT for admission, it doesn't mean that you don't have to prove yourself. They are generous with admissions but still require some kind of placement evaluation to see if you need remediation in math or English.
3. Would I be better served academically in smaller classes? Many students find they prefer the smaller setting of the community college and can get to know the instructor faster.
4. Am I trying to figure out what to select as a major? Since many colleges require students to complete a set of core courses, no matter what their major, it can be helpful to complete these prerequisites at a community college and save money at the same time. Community colleges also have advisors and career centers that can help give you some direction about majors. However, my main caution is that you select your courses carefully and as soon as you have a major selected and a college destination, be sure to talk with an advisor at the four-year college to be sure your community college hours will transfer - not just as electives but towards your degree requirements! You won't save money, if your hours don't align with the new university/college degree requirements.
5. Am I looking for a Bachelor's degree at this time or certification in a specialized arena? Community colleges continue to expand their programs and many offer excellent two-year degrees and certifications that will give the student exactly what he/she needs to get started in a career. Have you checked them out lately? There are two-year degrees & certifications in areas such as automotive technology, computer networking, cosmetology, jazz/music, audio technology, web/graphic design, programming, electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning/heating, culinary/chef training, and more!