5 reasons to attend a community college before a four-year university

By Abigail Clarkin
10/30/2015
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It's your senior year of high school and the time has come to apply to college. It's nerve-wracking! How on earth can you save money, take worthwhile, life-changing college courses, and figure out your future all at the same time? Community college may be a solution. Here are five reasons why you should consider it.

1. Community college will save you money

In order to chase your dreams, you may have to mentally prepare yourself to be stuck on a never-ending treadmill of college debt after graduation. Thankfully, if you choose to enroll at a community college before a four-year university, you can save a great deal of money.

 
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According to College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for a public, two-year college is $3,347, compared to $9,139 for a public, four-year school.

The average cost of tuition and fees for a public, two-year college is $3,347, compared to $9,139 for a public, four-year school.

2. An opportunity to learn in a diverse environment

Community college classes are comprised of a wide range of different people from various backgrounds. From high school students taking concurrent enrollment to middle-aged parents balancing work, families, and pursuing another chance at higher education, and many others. Working with a diverse community gives you a different perspective of higher education and helps you to grow your interpersonal skills before moving on to a bigger school.

3. Small class size

 
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Many community colleges have small class sizes, which allow for individualized attention from professors as well as the opportunity to work closely with other faculty and students. Small classes typically focus more on participation through discussion and allow students to learn in an interactive style that is typically not available in a large university lecture hall. Working one-on-one with professors allows you to receive constructive feedback — strengthening your skills and preparing you for a four-year university.

4. Overcome low grades or test scores

Community college is a place to start fresh. Low high school grades or SAT or ACT scores will not carry as much weight when applying to a four-year university if you do well at community college. Shocking, I know. Taking prerequisite classes, such as lower-level math, science, or English courses, can make up for poor grades you received in high school. Better yet, admissions counselors at four-year universities love to see that you are capable of overcoming obstacles and bettering yourself. Going from a C-average to A’s and B’s is definitely viewed as a triumph!

Furthermore, some higher educational institutions are test-optional for incoming freshmen, and a majority of four-year institutions waive standardized test scores for transfer students.

A majority of four-year institutions waive standardized test scores for transfer students

5. Opportunity to figure out your future

Perhaps you’re not worried about your high school grades, but you have no idea what career path you want to follow. Fortunately, a community college can be the perfect place to weigh your options. Because of the low tuition rate, exploring various subjects and taking multiple classes is less of a financial risk than going into a four-year college unsure and unprepared.


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If you want to save money before going to a four-year university, community college can be an affordable way to stack up your credits, give you a new way to look at the world, and buy time to figure out your next step in life. It’s your choice ... but make sure to watch out for the treadmill of debt.

Start saving up for a four-year university with our Scholarship Match.

About the author

Abigail is currently a student at the Community College of Rhode Island.  She can often be found writing poetry, daydreaming about being a children's librarian, or eating way more ice cream than she should.

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