How do you know if community college is right for you?

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How do you know if community college is right for you?

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

How do you know if community college is right for you?

Students considering a community college should consider the same aspects of the college as they would for a four year college. Namely, is the school a good fit academically, socially, and financially. Academically, community colleges usually offer programs that will prepare a student to transfer to a four year college and more technical or job training programs. The social aspect of community colleges is often the weakest. Because students are commuters, they often lack a high level of involvement with the school which leads to a generally lackluster experience and a high attrition rate. Financial concerns often are what make a community college seem best. Tuition is very low, and students usually save on room and board by continuing to live with parents.

Jessica Brondo
Founder and CEO The Edge in College Prep

How do you know if community college is right for you?

A community college is probably right for you for a number of reasons. If you don’t feel ready to move out of your parents’ house, spending 1-2 years at a community college could help with the transition to a campus farther away. If your grades weren’t where you wanted them to be in high school, community college can be a great way to to get your grades up to be a more appealing candidate when you apply for your bachelor’s degree. Lastly, community college is a great option to save money for two years as they are often less expensive than 4-year colleges.

Kiersten Murphy
Executive Director and Founder Murphy College Consultants LLC

How do you know if community college is right for you?

If you don't feel ready to leave home, if you need to save money or if you need some time to improve upon your academic GPA.

Sharon Epstein

How do you know if community college is right for you?

Many types of students go to community college. In the past, the majority of applications were for the traditional age student who didn’t achieve the highest grades in high school, or the older student who wanted to wrap up a degree. But now, more and more 18-year-olds who’ve done really well in high school are also looking at community college. - Community college is a good choice if you want to get a degree beyond high school without going for four years. You'll graduate in 2 years with increased job skills and earning potential. - Community college is a great way to save money. In Connecticut, where I'm from, tuition for 2011-2012 is about $3,500 for the year. - Transferring to a four-year school isn't as difficult as you might think. Check your college's website or talk to an admission counselor for more information. Some states will automatically admit students who graduate with a certain GPA to their four-year state schools. Just make sure, when you talk to the admission counselor, to ask him or her to help you choose courses whose credits will transfer. - Many community colleges also have transfer agreements with four-year private schools. For instance, Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has a transfer agreement with the University of New Haven that includes a reduction in tuition. It also has transfer agreements with NYU and Wheaton for students graduating in education, and for engineering grads who want to transfer to Fairfield University. - Many community colleges offer excellent support services, including tutoring and other academic help. - Financial Aid can make college affordable: Let’s say a student qualifies for $5,500 from a Pell grant. If tuition is about $3,500, it leaves the student about $2,000 for books and other things. So a student can come to a community college and have tuition paid for, books paid for, and may even have a couple of bucks left at the end of the day. Those are excellent reasons to consider community college. So, how do you know if community college is right for YOU? Besides considering the points I've listed, treat it like any other school you're interested in: visit, sit in on a class, and talk to everyone you can: an admission counselor, an instructor, and students or alum. Ask questions about what you'll be learning, what kind of help you'll get if you need it, what time classes are scheduled if that's an issue for you, what kind of transportation is available if you don't have a car, etc. Get a good feel for how you'd fit in. Weigh your options. Then you'll know if community college is right for you.

Zulema Wascher
Counselor Rio Rico High School

How do you know if community college is right for you?

The first thing you have to do is visit the college. Check out your options, during this time your most important factor in deciding between a community college and university is, how much of a dedicated student am I, how would I function better - in a small setting or large setting, and finally look at costs.

M Pinkerman
Counselor Huntington High School

How do you know if community college is right for you?

It depends on what you want to do as a career. Community and Technical Colleges offer a wide variety of choices that can make nice careers. You definitely want to figure out what you want to do as a career then see what type of training, certification, or degree that is required for that particular career.

Andrea Shupert

How do you know if community college is right for you?

Community colleges are a great alternative for students who don't have the finances or aren't ready to spend the resources needed for a college that will require you to pay for housing. If finances are tight, it is often a great advantage to stay at home and attend college daily. Community colleges often offer smaller, more intimate educational environments for students who are not ready for the larger university settings. Community colleges can serve as a stepping stone for the student who doesn't feel ready (academically or socially) for the 4-year school yet wants to continue at the next level. Getting a community degree under one's belt may give you the confidence for the next step – a college where you'll earn your undergraduate degree. Community colleges also help you discover where your passions are. Taking a variety of classes may lead you to discover an educational field that you hadn't considered. When you are ready to pursue your undergraduate degree at a 4-year college or university, you can do the research to find the one that will meet your needs and your interests. You will not be wasting years at a school that doesn't have your major or interest.

Thuy Trang
Counselor Instructor Mission College

How do you know if community college is right for you?

Community colleges are excellent choices for students who are: 1) Undecided about their major and wish to explore at the fraction of the cost needed to attend a 4-year college. You can complete all your lower-division general education and major preparation work and then transfer to obtain your bachelor's degree. Remember that when you earn your Bachelor in Science for Engineering at UC Berkeley - the degree won't have on there "attended a community college first" - you'll be as marketable as someone who entered UCB as a freshman! 2) Needing some transition time between high school and a 4-year college. Some students take a few semesters to fully grasp the rigors of a college curriculum. Community colleges tend to be smaller and less intimidating than a 4 year college and this buys a student more time to prepare for greater independence if they are still living at home. 3) Returning to college for a 2nd career. The community college allows you to re-tool and gain the prerequisites/foundation courses needed to pursue your new career. Know that not all community colleges are the same; each have various strengths and culture. Shop around if you have several in the area to choose from. Visit a community college, speak to the counseling department, the faculty with subjects you are interested in and then decide if financially and emotionally, this is a viable route for you!

Emily Minty

How do you know if community college is right for you?

Community college is becoming a more and more popular option for students, particularly given this economy. Studies have shown that students who attend these colleges receive equally strong educations and equal opportunities to students that begin at more prestigious colleges and universities as long as they work hard and make the most of their experience. In fact, highly selective colleges often recruit transfer students from community colleges. A community college may be an excellent option for you if your grades or test scores are not quite strong enough to get into a four year school, if you are not quite ready to live away from home, or if you are looking to save money on your first two years of college.

Christine Johnson

How do you know if community college is right for you?

There are a number of factors you might want to consider. People choose community college for very diverse reasons. #1. Community college provides an education at a cheaper cost than a university or college. If finances are a concern, this is definitely an option. #2. Community colleges are a place where you can "decide" what your career path may be, if you are unsure. You won't have to go into great debt figuring out what it is you would like to pursue. #3. For those high school students who did not always take their education seriously, and therefore do not have the GPA to qualify for scholarships, this is a logical choice. Go to a community college, apply yourself, and at the end of your associate's degree, hopefully your GPA will be such that you can be eligible for transfer scholarships. #4. If staying at home with your family is necessary, community college is also a good option. Sometimes personal live necessitate that students live at home to care for parents, siblings, and/or children of their own. #5. Choose your community college wisely. Make sure it offers the classes/programs you are interested in taking, and talk to someone in the financial aid office about what scholarships are available.