Updated, April 16th, 2017
Despite some of the disadvantages of attending community college, a lot of people lately — including President Obama –have been extolling the virtues of attending community college. While attending community college is a great idea, it is not for everybody. What about the disadvantages of going to community college instead of a four-year college or university? If you’ve been debating whether to attend community college rather than go to a four-year university, consider the following disadvantages of community college vs. the advantages of attending community college.
How to Transfer Credit From Community College to a 4-Year University?
Community college can be a great answer if you are only interested in earning an associate’s degree, but what if your intention is to transfer to a four-year college or university? How can you make sure your credits will transfer and you won’t have to spend extra money and time taking the same classes or similar classes over again? Even if you are only interested in an associate’s degree, it’s still a good idea to make sure what classes are compatible with your nearby four-year institution, just in case you change your mind later and end up wanting to study at a four-year college years after completing an associate’s degree. The good news is that community colleges and four-year public colleges and universities nearby are starting to cooperate more in recognition of the number of students who are transferring credits. That means it is becoming easier to avoid the pitfall of taking classes in community college that will not count toward a four-year degree.
What Kind of Housing is Available at a Community College?
A lot of community college students continue to live with their parents and commute to classes. That’s great if you like living with your parents and saving money. What if you prefer more independence and are looking forward to getting away from home? If this issue is important to you, look into the community college that interests you and try to get an understanding of whether there is a campus life, a college atmosphere, and student housing. If the community college lacks these features, you may be better off attending a four-year college or university instead.
What is the Value of an Associate’s Degree?
If you graduate from community college, you will earn a two-year degree, known as an associate’s degree. An associate’s degree is of great value for many fields that do not require bachelor’s degrees. Some vocations such as pastry chefs, hairdressers, welders, paralegals, travel agents, plumbers, and carpenters do not require four-year degrees. If you are mostly interested in fields such as these for your life-long career, then community college may be the best choice for you. Visit the career services center of your local community college to understand more about what kind of assistance you will receive after graduation to help you enter your new career upon graduation with an associate’s degree. Check with the departments and inquire about internship opportunities. You may even be offered the chance to speak with former students and learn about their experiences with the community college you are thinking of attending.
However, if you are interested in becoming a teacher, engineer, dentist, physician, attorney, certified public account, or architect you should seriously try to enroll directly in a four-year college or university right from the start.
If you are still undecided about what to study, community college can be a very good way to sample different academic disciplines with considerably less cost than a four-year college.
How Much Student Life is there at Community College?
Many community colleges are lacking in the student life that four-year colleges offer. Before making your decision to attend community college, visit the student services center. If the community college has a campus, learn about the events and opportunities that are offered outside of the classroom. What kinds of recreational facilities are available? If you were interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, it is also better to attend a four-year college or university. Most community colleges do not have sororities or fraternities. However, you may find other kinds of student groups and organizations to help create a social life while attending community college.
Some Thoughts If Still Not Sure Whether to Attend Community College or Four-Year College
If you are still not sure whether you should attend a four-year college or go to community college, why not apply to both and see if you can get accepted into the four-year college as well. Although the four-year college will cost more, you may be able to reduce the costs with the help of college grants. If you have a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) or better while in high school, there is also a chance of finding scholarships to help pay for college. If you have high grades and test scores, you will probably be able to earn several different kinds of scholarships to help with tuition, expenses, and books. If you’re still torn between attending community college and four-year college, choose a time of the academic year that is not hectic and visit both colleges. Make sure not to visit the campuses during the week just before class begins, during the first two weeks of the semester, or during finals week. Things are too hectic during those times. Wait until the middle of summer or a few weeks into the semester. That way you’ll find professors, counselors, and staff on hand to help answer your questions in order to help you make the decision that is right for you. That way you’ll be able to weigh all advantages and disadvantages of attending community college.