Most people who are in high school thinking about which college they’re going to, tend to think about a 4-year college before anything else. I know that because I was one of those people too. Ever since I began to think about what my future would be beyond high school, I always thought about CSU Stanislaus (also known as Stanislaus State), which would indeed become the school I’d attend further on in my education. Most people don’t tend to think of community colleges as their school of choice.
There is no doubt about it.
But I’m here to tell you that although it might not cross your mind to list them as your number one school pick, you should consider having them in that spot.
Again, I was there, in your situation too, and I ended up attending Modesto Junior College first before transferring to Stanislaus, and it was one of the most wisest decisions I made in my college years.
If my story isn’t enough to convince you (I know, I didn’t win a Nobel Prize so my story might not sound as amazing), here are some reasons why you should attend community college right after you graduate high school!
- Tuition Costs!
This one’s definitely the biggest reason and that’s why I had to list it first. Student Hero did a study in which they found that each credit hour in a community college cost 60% less than it would in a four-year public college. It’s no surprise that if you were to do the math of the costs between whichever courses were equivalent at both kinds of colleges, you’d be saving so much money, you’d have more than enough to pay for your full-time semester at the community college. As I figured out where I’d be going to college, this was one of the biggest factors that came into play.
I would also add that attending a community college means that there can be more financial aid options available, that I know of, at least in California, but I’m sure other states may have options available as well. My first couple of semesters were paid for by the financial assistance available and it helped me so much to not have to worry about paying for them.
- Short Distance From Home
Typically community colleges tend to be closer to home than a four year college is, which is the case for all of us Modesto, CA people. This’ll mean that you’ll be closer to your home and will be able to save on gas (which can really add up over time). This also means that if you forget something or decide to go back home meanwhile your next class starts, you won’t be as far
- Less Cost, Same Class
When I attended my college, I went through the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) (Yes, that’s a long name I know.) which is what you follow if you plan on transferring to a CSU or UC, but is definitely what you need if it’s a UC (I believe it’s only in California but other states may have something similar to it).
Essentially what it is, is a list of general education courses categories that must be fulfilled before transferring. These are courses that students who attend four-year schools have to take anyway in their first two years of college, so you’re pretty much taking the same class that they are, but for a significantly less cost! And in some cases you may even have the same professor. In my years, I’ve had a couple of professors who have taught at MJC and at Stanislaus and I’m sure they teach the class the same way they do at both schools
- You Can Get A Degree(s) Earlier!
This is really depends on your community college goal. If your goal is to only take the general education courses and then just take all major courses at the four year then this wouldn’t happen. If you’ve decided on a major then I’d recommend that you take the major classes that do transfer, at the community college. This’ll mean that beyond you already being at a “Junior” status when you transfer (meaning only two more years left till you get that Bachelor’s!), you can obtain your Associate’s degree in your major!
Sure it might not seem like much because it’s not the Bachelor’s one yet, but trust me, it’ll make you stand out in interviews early on in your college career. Throughout my first years in college, I was able to get three Associate Degree’s (Business Administration, Operations Management, & Accounting), and they were always mentioned in most, if not all of the job interviews I had.
- Save On Dorm Costs!
Whether you’re living with your parents still or choosing to move out and get an apartment, you’ll be saving so much on dorm costs at a four-year college! If you haven’t seen the cost of dorms, it can be quite a lot. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t live in the dorms when you transfer, as living in the dorms does have its benefits, but you will be saving on these costs in your first two or three years of college if you don’t go to a four-year right away.
- Save on Parking Costs!
Parking costs can be significantly different at a community college. This is highly likely the case, especially if you live in California. For example, at Modesto Junior College, the daily parking fee is $2 and the Fall/Spring semester parking permit is $30, while at Stanislaus State, the daily parking fee is $6, and the Fall/Spring semester parking permit can cost up to $186.68.
- Book Savings (in some cases!)
Yes, you might even be able to save on books! For example, I had professors that would be okay with using older editions of books. I also had an English professor that just had a lot of printed papers on court case studies, rather than an actual textbook and that cost way less than a book would have. Some didn’t even require a book, and would just have you study for tests off their lecture PowerPoints! To know more about whether a professor requires a book or not, or if they usually let you use older editions, I’d recommend checking out their RateMyProfessor page, if you’re not aware of what that is, it’s essentially a site where students review professors and tend to make comments that will give you a good idea of what the class will be like
- Smaller Campuses (Typically)
Typically you’ll find that a community college tends to have a smaller campus than a four-year although there can be exceptions. What this means is that your classes will be closer to each other so you won’t have to get in your car to go from one class to the other. My college in particular, has two campuses (West & East Campus) but in the event that you have classes in both, they provide a free shuttle to students. This usually isn’t the case for most community colleges though.
- No SAT Score Required
If you choose not to take the SAT test in high school (like me), then you won’t have to worry about it because you wouldn’t need it to go to most community colleges (saying most, because I’m not aware of any that would require it, but there may be one or two out there lol). Plus, if you choose to transfer to a four-year college, you won’t have to worry about an SAT score (as far as I know).
So as you can see there are plenty of great reasons why attending a community college should be in your educational plans! I’ve actually found myself returning to MJC to work on obtaining my 6th degree, which is going to be in Psychology!
Do you have any additional reasons you’d like to add to the list? Did you or are you planning on attending community college as well? Then leave a comment below.