Top 5 Factors to Consider Community College

Community College SignAs high school seniors plan their impending college career, they and their parents realize that after comparing Cost of Attendance at State, UCs and private colleges, it’s an extremely heavy financial burden.  Even with the support of financial aid, it’s likely that families will spend tens of thousands of dollars per school year.

So, why not consider a community college for their first two years?

We’ve compiled the 5 most persuasive reasons for first-time freshman to attend community college:

  1. It’s by far the cheaper option.
    You may have already mulled over the potential savings of sending your child to community college, but aren’t sure exactly how much it will positively influence your finances.

    The American Association of Community Colleges reported that the overall tuition fees of the 2012-13 school year were $3,130 for community colleges and $8,660 for 4-year.  That’s almost 3 times as expensive!

    At 35% of the overall cost, that itself could sway your decision.  Especially considering our next reason.

  2. The exact same courses are offered for general education.
    Whether you complete English 101 at a four-year school or community college, there really isn’t too much difference.  You’ll pay more for the course at a four-year college, yet receive essentially the same information.  Once you transfer, you’d enter at the same caliber as other juniors.

    Future prospective employers desire to know what type of degree you achieved from what school, not where you completed your GE requirements.  So why not go the cheaper route?

  3. A greater likelihood of acceptance.
    After finishing up your list of GE classes, it’s imperative to transfer successfully.  Good news!  Universities and State colleges prefer transfer students because their lower-division courses are typically overflowing with students.

    This became abundantly clear when all but ten four-year colleges announced that for spring of 2013 they will only consider transfer students and no new freshman applicants.  Partially due to limited funding and also because schools like SJSU already capped their enrollment capacity, this forced many forthcoming freshman to stick to an extremely limited list of colleges.

    Whether they like it or not, a good majority of them will likely enter the community college circuit.  If limited enrollment occurs again by the time of their transfer, their possibilities will be far greater than incoming freshman.

  4. Less pressure, more time to step back and take a breather.
    From the moment of acceptance, State and University colleges persist that you declare a major.  The problem is that the number of students who know through and through their ultimate path in life versus those who are undecided is incredibly unbalanced.  With a great deal of freshman barely beginning their adulthood, what’s the big rush?  Are you really expected to know your path in life at such a young age?

    In November 2012, Penn State affirmed that 80% of their freshman class admitted to having wavering doubts about their majors—including students who already declared one!

    Horror stories abound about students who reach the midpoint of classes toward their degree and decide to switch majors.  It’s a costly venture and wastes precious time.

    If you attend a community college, you’re provided with two full years to mull over potential majors and even explore interests that might steer you in the right direction.  You face far less stress and therefore, your pick of a major will likely rest on a more sound decision.

  5. Flexibility and close proximity.
    In California alone, 112 community colleges are littered across the State.  Chances are there’s at least one within reasonable driving distance.

    Compared to the 33 State colleges and Universities, that’s a pretty noticeable gap.  It’s likely students will be forced to move or commute a great deal.  Not only will they travel less to a community college, they’ll also be given the opportunity to live at home, saving parents money they would spend on student housing and other pricey living expenses.

    Hours of classes range from early in the morning to late at night, which usually isn’t the case at four-years.  They tend to offer a handful of night classes and the rest within the late morning and early afternoon.  The plethora of night classes at community colleges present students with the choice to work part-time.

Students may feel inadequate if they don’t enroll at a State college or University, but that’s far from true!  In fact, they’ll find it’s an incredibly wise path for their first two years of higher education.

It costs far less (which gives parents extra time to hoard any extra cash for their pending upper-division courses), eases the worry about picking a major immediately, presents a wide variety of classes and times to fit their schedule.  It even gives them a leg up when transferring versus first-time freshman.

Years later your student may face the question “You went to community college?”  They’ll answer: “Yes, and it was the best decision I could’ve made.”

Westface College Planning can help you navigate the financial aid process from start to finish, including comparing the expense details of community versus four-year colleges. To learn how we can help you call us at 650-587-1559 or sign up for one of our Tackling the Runaway Costs of College Workshops or Webinars.

Photo Credit: Ed.gov

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