What To Consider Before Selecting Between Community College & University
High school students keen on continuing their academic careers post-graduation are left to decide between community colleges in their local area or universities. This decision isn’t an easy one and it will require many factors to be considered before any graduating senior can truly decide.
For example, should you even choose a four year university experience considering most universities will accept general education credits from your local community college? Two years at home can save a lot of money in comparison to two years of most university tuitions. What if you only plan to get a two-year degree? There’s a lot to consider for every level of student in these situations. Below you’ll find a breakdown of some the ways that the university experience can differ from the community college experience and which one might be the best fit for you.
Expected Level Of Learning
A stigma surrounding community colleges is that their curriculum doesn’t match that of a university. This couldn’t be further from the truth, which is why most community college credits transfer over so easily to many university programs. A student is capable of receiving a high-quality level of education from either institution, which is why it’s so important to keep local community colleges in consideration when choosing a school to pursue a deeper academic future.
How The Degree & Program Offers Differ
University degrees and community college degrees, while sharing some commonality, are not the same. Their qualities, specialization and variety especially are what make them so different. Many students choose to pursue a future at a university because they’re looking to acquire a bachelor’s degree. These four year degrees are specialized, whereas the associate level degrees offered at community colleges are more limited. Many students look to community college as a way to jumpstart their college careers as a cheap alternative, understanding the work they do will be honored by a university they plan to transfer to after two years.
Investing into your future is incredibly important, but the costs of traditional universities continue to increase year over year. That’s not to say the costs don’t outweigh the benefits, but when considering that most community colleges will cost about half of what these universities will charge, it can be a rather appealing alternative. Working out financial aid opportunities prior to this decision can help influence whether or not university is right for you.
Can You Meet The Requirements?
Generally speaking, local community colleges will have a much lower bar set when it comes to admission requirements than traditional universities. This provides a unique opportunity for students who may not have performed as well academically in high school to prove themselves at the college level and potentially allow them to transfer to a university of their choosing in the future.
Gauging The Social Expectations
What you expect socially from your college experience can also influence which of the two options you decide. Community colleges may offer more limited clubs, extracurriculars, and sports programs in comparison to universities. In addition, few community colleges are big enough to support an on-campus living arrangement, so many community college goers will be commuting to class. In comparison, university students will live on a fleshed out campus that includes many local staples that allow easy engagement for classmates and peers alike.
Decide Based On What’s Best For You
Many graduating seniors will have a lot on their plate when it comes time to decide what the next chapter of their life looks like. Those that need flexibility but still hope to pursue a higher level of learning should certainly consider community college in the interim. Those prepared to devote their life to school for the next four years may feel more inclined to go off to university. Be proud in whichever choice you make and understand that you can pivot if necessary. To learn more about the differences between community college and universities, in addition to what their experiences offer, be sure to download the EncourageMe app.