With high school graduation approaching, students are beginning to craft plans for their futures. While researching all your college options, you should keep community college high on your list. With the cost of higher education rising to exorbitant levels in the past few years, community college can be a great way to save money. However, there are many other reasons as to why going to a community college first could be the right step for your college career. Here are four reasons to consider attending a community college.
Find Your Career and Major: The current price of a state four-year institution is nearly triple that of a community college. Going to community college first can also give you the ability to figure out what you field you want to go into. Its common for college students to switch majors in the first two years of college, adding to the cost of tuition by having to take additional courses and/or delaying graduation in order to fulfill requirements for the new major. You can take general education classes at a community college and save a considerable amount of money while you are deciding which field will work best for you. By attending community college, it’s ok to not know which career one plans on pursuing after college. Students have the opportunity to figure out the right path for themselves, a virtue for many.
Save Money: Another way to save some cash by going to community college is living at home instead of living in the dorms. Though living at the dorms can be a great experience by giving you a taste of freedom, it’s expensive. You normally have a flat fee for the dorm cost each year and will most likely have to purchase a meal plan. If you live at home and go to community college, you get to save on these two expenses and eliminate a considerable amount of post college debt.
An Easier Transition: Besides the fact that the price of community college is much cheaper than a state school or private university, you’ll be saving more than just money. Going to a community college can be an easier transition from high school. Many students who attend university after high school have trouble keeping up with the academic pace and larger class sizes made up of hundreds of students. Most community campuses are small compared to universities, which mean that class sizes are typically smaller, providing more one-on-one time with professors and a more intimate learning environment.
Flexible Hours: If you’re a person who is looking to get your degree in addition to tackling a full time job, then community college is a great alternative to a four-year institution. Most community colleges offer a wider range of class times and because class sizes are smaller they are able to offer flexibility in their class schedules. This could be a great option for those who have a busy schedule outside of school.
College is a time for change and figuring out what you want to do, but you don’t have to waste money doing it. Making an informed decision with your money is the best strategy. Practicing fiscal responsibility now will ensure that you’re in a better position to take advantage of opportunities later.
This Money for College blog was written by Beatrice Schultz of Westface College Planning. For more Money for College tips, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar.
Photo Credit: Eric E Johnson