Benefits of Attending Community College
There are many benefits of going to community college. Some of the advantages of community college include the following:
- Gaining a New Skill
- Furthering One’s Professional Knowledge
- Potential for a Wage Increase
- Options to Study Close to Home
- Availability of Coursework for Working Students
- Ability to Transfer Credits
- Typically a Lower Cost of Tuition
- Chances of Eligibility for an In-State College Grant
- Benefit from Lower In-State Tuition
Recent Improvements at Community Colleges and the New Emphasis on Higher Education
U.S. President Barack Obama stated, “Jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience”. This is the reason President Obama is placing emphasis on the role of community colleges.
President Obama set the following two goals for 2020: 1) the United States will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world and 2) community colleges will produce an additional five million graduates.
According to research done by the White House, community colleges enroll more than six million students, with enrollment rising. The advantages of community colleges are the following:
- Affordable Tuition
- Open Admission Policies
- Flexible Course Schedules
- Convenient Locations
- Coursework easy to fit in for older, working students
In addition, community colleges cooperate with the government, business and industry to help create training programs to fill in for areas in need of additional skilled workers, such as nursing, health information technology, advanced manufacturing, and “green jobs.”
Some of the goals to make educational services at community college more practical for modern-day students include:
- More Online Courses
- Career Planning
- Time Management
- Worksite Education Programs
- Ease of Transferring Credits between Institutions
- Partnerships among Institutions
- Remedial and Adult Education
With more Pell Grant funding available than in previous years, community college education is within reach of many new students.
What Can I Study at a Community College?
Many students are surprised by the range of coursework available at the community colleges near them. Many community colleges offer associates degrees in accounting, health sciences, computer studies, media arts, foreign languages, art, music, nursing, and teacher education. Some community colleges even include studies such as the culinary arts, cosmetology, air conditioning-heating-refrigeration, sign language, aviation dispatch, building and construction management, carpentry, criminal justice, dental hygiene, drafting technology, teaching English as a second language, paralegal studies, plumbing, radiologic technology, and welding. In 2013, many scholarships are also available to help pay for community college.
In addition, there are often community college courses for continuing education students who wish to upgrade their skills or learn some new skills.
Community College as a Logical Choice for Undecided Students
Some students in United States are undecided when they first start college. For undecided students, enrolling in a community college near home makes a lot of sense. You might be able to qualify for college grants to help pay for your community college studies. Furthermore, since entry to community college is less competitive, community college scholarships are also less competitive. You may be able to land a scholarship to help pay for community college as well. Undecided students more than any other group should consider a community college as their first college experience, in order to take advantage of the lower tuition rates (roughly half the cost of in-state tuition at public universities and 10% of the cost of private universities) while sampling a variety of courses prior to deciding what course of study in which to major.
Another reason community college is advantageous is that a four-year degree requires “general education” units. Some students have struggled through these required classes and even have had to take them twice before they can really focus on the classes that really interest them most. Since tuition is lower at community college, that means retaking a class will not cost as much.
Further Advantages of Community College
Community colleges also have an open-door admissions policy. So students do not have to worry about their high school grade point average (GPA) before starting community college. That is good news for students looking to start from a clean slate and wanting to prove themselves. Good study habits in community college will mean a higher GPA and could even mean a scholarship for students in their junior and senior year of studies. Some students who have trouble learning by themselves have found that they receive the special attention they need to grasp the subject matter better, thanks to the environment of a community college. Generally community colleges have few students per class so teachers can get to know you on a more personal level. It’s easier to make appointments with the dean, counselors, teachers, library staff, etc. The transition from high school to college sometimes shocks the students because of the academic rigors and loser structure. A community college environment can be an easier transition for high school students by helping them build the study habits required for university studies. Despite the advantages, community college may not be for everybody, however. It is a good idea to consider the disadvantages of attending community college vs. a four-year college as well. After considering the disadvantages, you can focus on the advantages of attending a community college rather than a large university, and decide what is the best fit for you.