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What is Community College Like? What are the Pros and Cons?

bri_rodriguezzzbri_rodriguezzz 9 replies10 threads Junior Member
Community College is at the top of my mind right now, if god forbid I don’t get into some universities I have in mind. To anyone who’s studied at a community college-is it any different from a college campus-other than a smaller background? Is it worth going to community college after high school? Where some cons of community college?
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Replies to: What is Community College Like? What are the Pros and Cons?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85298 replies761 threads Senior Member
    Community colleges often serve a mix of students including those intending to transfer to a university, those who want to complete specific programs there (e.g. associates degree in nursing, firefighter education, etc.), and those taking specific courses for personal interest (e.g. learning a foreign language).

    If you intend to transfer to a university, check if the local community colleges have articulation agreements with the universities (particularly the same-state public universities) so that you can fulfill course requirements for your intended major in your first two years at the community college, then complete the upper level courses at the university to graduate with a bachelor's degree in another two years.

    Remember that community college is college, so that you need more self-motivation and time management compared to the more supervised environment of high school, just like at any other college.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 11568 replies611 threads Super Moderator
    edited September 3
    Of course it’s worth going to CC after high school.

    Pros:
    It’s far cheaper than a four year college.
    It’s local. Given that a bunch of colleges are shutting down right now, that’s not a bad thing.
    It’s a good intro to college without the stress of being away from home. It tends to be not quite as rigorous as classes at a four year school, but the expectations are still higher than high school.
    Can be easier to create a schedule that fits with work.

    Cons:
    Often not much sense of community on campus, as most people commute.
    Can feel like high school because you’ll be going home every day.
    Possibly limited class offerings or classes that might be at times you don’t want to attend class.

    I am sure there are other pros and cons.

    I attended CC by choice. There is nothing “god forbidding” about it. I transferred to a university. I saved my family a LOT of money. 30+ years later, I have a career that I love thanks to my degree. It’s college. It’s up to you to make the most of opportunities, wherever you end up.
    edited September 3
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  • bjscheelbjscheel 802 replies6 threads Member
    My oldest, class of 2017, went to community college. It was an hour away so she actually moved into student housing and had more of the college experience. She had her own bedroom and bathroom and shared a kitchen/living room with 3 other girls. Compared to all the cement block tiny dorm rooms she had toured it was super nice!

    Between her local scholarships, the cc's foundation scholarships, and our tax credit, she had $0 net tuition cost. Since she was doing a two-year program only (not transferring), she ended up with a free education. She is currently working full time and enjoying the no-student-loan lifestyle.

    Some students she met were non-traditional but that didn't bother her and she made friends her age she still meets with. There weren't as many planned activities for students but she did do a 5K, grocery bingo, pumpkin decorating, and more. Her job and classes kept her busy otherwise.

    I will say she didn't want to go to the cc that was closer to home (about 45 minutes) as it was in more of a dumpy town and so many of her HS classmates went. So the further away school with an apartment in an up-and-coming suburb was a great solution that made her feel better.

    She also got just a little bit of criticism from people who asked her plans. It wasn't long before she stopped being embarrassed and instead answered she was excited and about how much money she would save.

    Turns out after she chose that school, suddenly it became a pretty popular choice among future graduates of our high school :sunglasses:
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 1032 replies6 threads Senior Member
    edited September 4
    Disclaimer: I did my Associates during high school, but awarded separately from my HS diploma (not early-college.) So while I did take some on-campus classes, I definitely didn't have the complete CC experience as a student who took a full course-load (I was taking my HS courses at the same time, and used AP/dual-credit to count towards the Associates' degree requirements.)

    As with any college, you'll find a range of students: some are super-motivated with clear post-cc plans, while others are more laid-back. The main advantages of CC is cost, especially if your state will help cover the cost of tuition (depends on income, state funding etc,) and the accompanying ability to knock out your pre-reqs and lower-division courses (guaranteed if your CC has a transfer/articulation agreement, usually with your state's four year-universities) than paying more at a four-year university.

    The main disadvantage on the other hand, is that most CCs are not residential campuses like four-year universities: while communities can and do exist (clubs, sports etc,) it would be different from the communities formed in dorms at a four-year university. Many four-year universities award merit scholarship funding differently for incoming freshmen as opposed to transfers, so keep this mind.

    Some public universities will offer programs where you are enrolled at both a four-year university and a CC, and can choose to take classes at either as you wish (probably for your first 2 years only, as upper-divisions are typically not offered at CCs.)

    If you qualify for a Pell-Grant (low-income,) some states offer programs where your tuition is free at certain public universities. Your high school's guidance counselor would likely be the best place to start with exploring these programs, and those referenced above.

    Hope that helps! Good luck with admissions!
    edited September 4
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  • calla1calla1 2100 replies26 threads Senior Member
    My son went to a CC, then transferred to a UC. He thinks he got a better education at the CC. Classes were small and the profs were engaging and accessible. No TAs. Plus he saved a lot of money. He was involved with campus clubs, one of which would meet at the advisor's house. So he did get some of the "college experience."

    If you do go the CC route, make sure your classes will transfer. I'm not sure what state you're in, but in California, the CCs have transfer agreements with local state colleges and UCs.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10566 replies74 threads Senior Member
    Some CC's in my town are bigger than some small colleges. They have: clubs, sports, career centers, good journeymen programs, host movie nights, farmer's markets, children's activities, etc. Some are fully free (tuition/fees/books) to people who sign a commitment to follow a predetermined course of study.

    These are commuter campuses and there is no housing.

    All of this depends on your community.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 43001 replies2311 threads Super Moderator
    edited September 8
    After your first year, when more kids than you would expect drop out of their elite schools and come home for CC or small local colleges, you will be happy you started out at the CC.
    edited September 8
    Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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