Admit it, Community made you seriously reconsider your plans of starting off at a university so you could have as cool of a group as they did.
With all of the education options, it can be hard to figure out the right route for yourself. I decided to attend community college and loved my experience there. Of course there are pros and cons to any choice, but I wanted to point out some of the big pro’s for attending a community college first.
All about the Benjamin’s
Do you have any idea how much college costs? Have you felt the soul-crushing anxiety of paying off loans already? Attending community college can lessen that anxiety quite a bit. Take a look at the numbers:
Mesa Community College Tuition for 12 credits: $1008
Arizona State University Tuition for 12 credits: $4742
Holy cow. That is such a huge difference! Sixty credits is about the equivalent of an Associate’s degree, and you could get that for about $5000 at MCC. At ASU that would cost at least $18,968. Can you believe that?? That’s a public state school whose tuition keeps climbing, and private schools typically have higher tuition than that.
You also may be able to get even cheaper tuition from community college through scholarships. When I was in high school, you could get free tuition for 4 semesters at MCC if you were in the top 15% of your graduating class or if you got in the highest score bracket on their placement test. I ended up in the top 16% of my class (so close), but I did meet the test scores so I was able to receive that scholarship. Huge blessing in my life, and I know they had many other scholarships available for different amounts that helped other students. Take a look at your community colleges and see what types of scholarships are available. Getting $5000 worth of school for free may not seem like that big of a deal, but I’m very happy that my student loans aren’t an additional $5k!
Are you working right now? Trying to find a way to balance kids and school? Maybe you just really hate mornings and don’t want to study Biology at 8a.m. I get that. I lived on my own when I went to college, so my scholarship paid for tuition and my two or three jobs (depending on the semester) paid for my living expenses. My first year I took Monday-Friday classes from 8a.m. to noon and then went to work. My second year I only had classes on Tuesday and Thursday and was able to work long days Monday/Wednesday/Friday. It worked out well for me. Community college tends to have a very flexible schedule. Classes typically run throughout the day, there are evening classes, my school had 4-week winter intercession classes, and you can take a 2 credit P.E. class and use the gym on campus so you don’t have to travel to one more place. There are a lot of options to help you get the education you want!
Fresh Start to Transfer
Not everyone got good grades in high school. Right along with the one valedictorian, someone had to have the lowest GPA in the graduating class. That’s gotta hurt. Or maybe you went to college before, didn’t do well and now you’re going back. Neither situation means you can’t be successful. So you didn’t make the grades previously–that’s okay. Community college is a great option to take general education and prerequisite classes to bring your GPA up before transferring to a 4-year school. Some of the other benefits of a CC could simply take the pressure off so you can focus on doing well.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it–not everyone needs a Bachelor’s degree. It’s not necessary for the entire country to have one. Especially when there are well-paying careers you can enter in a matter of a couple of years or less. These are some certificates, apprenticeships, and Associates programs you can complete that will put you right into your career:
Nursing, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Medical Assisting, Real Estate, Welding, Paramedic/Emergency Medical Technician, Mortuary Science, Firefighting, Automotive Performance, Physical/Occupational Therapy Assistant, HVAC Refrigeration Technology, Carpentry, Plumbing, Sonography, Radiology,
This is just a small sampling of available programs. Do you already have a career and are looking to expand your options? You can also attend community colleges to enhance your career through certificates and endorsements. For example, going back to get a CISCO networking certificate.
Face time with instructors
It was nice having smaller classes at my community college. It made for more frequent meaningful class discussions, rather than being lectured at in a room with 200 other students where no discussion is facilitated. It was also really convenient to meet with them during office hours because there were fewer people clamoring to get another half point added to their paper. I had a lot of fun talking with professors in my classes and getting to know them a little more personally. I still think of specific things my Sociology professor said in class and how they shaped my outlook on life. He always encouraged us to ride a city bus and look at the people around you. It was a unity thing he always talked about. After I visited New York City I emailed him to tell him about my experience riding a subway for the first time. I’ve only ever emailed my university professors about references.
I really had a great time at my community college. I still made friends, had study groups, saved a ton of money with a scholarship and was prepared to transfer to an excellent university afterwards. Didn’t have quite as wonderful time as Community would have you think, but it was pretty great still. Unless you have a million dollar education budget or an amazing scholarship somewhere already, it’s a valid consideration for everyone preparing to go to school.