Community College vs. Boarding School

<p>I'm an int'l student who currently participate in an exchange student program in US. I'm planning for my education after this school year ends. However, I don't sure what should I do. Which one is better for my situation? Community College and Boarding School for probably two more years.</p>

<p>Furthermore, I want to strengthen my academic skills before attending to a high quality college. Thus, I prefer studying in boarding school, but its fee is a high obstacle as you can understand. As the majority of exchange student, Asian particularly, will attend to a CC, and then transfer to a college for last two years. It's less expensive apparently, If I choose a boarding school, I must have FA for the second year, and then apply for colleges. I don't say I'm a genius student, but I'm determined in studying and involve in numerous activities. I do not mind when graduate high school as an age of 20 if I go to a boarding school.</p>

<p>I do not know what I want to be or learn in college, so I need time to define myself and my career. Since the job marketplace becomes more and more difficult for new graduates, my desire is being a well-prepared for that difficulty. In addition, I want to experience college's spirit as a full four year student.</p>

<p>I'm really looking forward to receiving helpful and thoughtful advises from numerous members here.</p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

<p>Attending a boarding school would the advantage that you can apply to college as a freshman application. First-year applicants have several advantages over transfer applicants: there’s much more financial aid available for international first-year applicants than international transfer applicants; the selective private universities accept very few transfer applicants at all; and you would have the full college experience. (Community college students who transfer to selective universities often feel “underprepared” academically for their new environment, and have missed out on two year’s worth of opportunities that can have a real impact on their post-college options.)</p>

<p>Attending a community college might be cheaper than a boarding school and you’ll be earning college credits for your effort. That makes the community college transfer route a popular option for international students with a significant-but-limited college fund. However, attending a community college only makes sense if you can pay for at least 2 years at a regular university afterwards since there is very little financial aid available for international transfer students. </p>

<p>Re financial aid: several dozen private colleges are willing to fund up to the full cost of attendance (tuition and living expenses) for needy international first-year applicants. As a transfer applicant, you’d be lucky to get a half-tuition scholarship at a much less selective university.</p>

<p>^ I second everything that was so comprehensively written above.</p>

<p>When you calculate costs, count community college at full cost PLUS 2 years at the 4-year university of your choice, at full cost (that’s the minimum), vs. 4 years at a university with a merit or need-based scholarship.</p>

<p>Applying from a boarding school (it does not have to be a top one!) gives you more choices and the opportunity to earn scholarships. In addition, you’ll be better prepared for college and be in a more intellectually challenging environment than at a community college.
However boarding schools are very expensive indeed. Some have scholarships, but in any case they’d be costly.</p>

<p>Would your current school be willing to keep you and would it be allowed to? Or would a local family be willing to act as boarding family while you attend a local private school? These options would be less costly than a boarding school.</p>

<p>For instance, as a freshman applicant to UAlabama’s main campus (in Tuscaloosa), you can get a full tuition scholarship and a $2,500 stipend plus admission to Engineering or CS, Honors College special classes, and a space in the Honors Dorm if you get a 32 on your ACT.
As a transfer, you pay full price and have no access to the Honors College.</p>

<p>Thank for your replies. I REALLY appreciate these advises. </p>

<p>Boarding School. I reccommend Deerfield Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillip Exeter Academy, Phillip Academy Andover, and St. Paul’s School. All of the have great FA for international applicants and will give you a great (remaining) high school experience.It’ll be a hit or miss for your age. The students at these schools are generally extremely nice so I’m guessing they’d look past your older age. Good luck! :)</p>

<p>P.S. I know one of the above commenters said it doesn’t have to be a top one, but in reality, the top BS are the ones with the most FA and thus the most generous aid packages.</p>

<p>Good Community College (e.g. Santa Monica College) > Boarding School. </p>

<p>As an Intl student I assume you want to goto Boarding School to build up an American transcript before transferring, correct? It just doesn’t make sense IMO to pay for classes and not get college credit. (yes I know you could get AP scores but they aren’t exactly the same)</p>

<p>If you can maintain a high GPA at CC, 3.7+ you have a GREAT chance of getting into top flagship state schools (depending on the major) and even the easier to transfer into Ivy schools. For instance I know people this year that got into Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, Cornell, etc. Alternatively if you decide to attend a smaller private, you will have no problem out of CC. </p>

<p>As for the scholarships, I think the money you save going to CC offsets a large portion of the aid you’d get as a freshman, assuming you get any aid. </p>

<p>bomerr, I would agree with you if the OP could pay for 2-3 years at a top public university after community college - but I don’t think the OP can (since the OP would not be able to afford more than one year at a boarding school either). So the way I see it, it’s either college with financial aid or no college at all; and the OP will have much better odds of receiving financial aid as a freshman applicant.</p>

<p>But will see even get financial aid? She will still be an international student. She could pay for boarding school then end up not receiving what she wants and be farther behind than going to CC. </p>

<p>And college usually like seeing 4 years of HS grades. How will they view her application with 2 years (or w/e) or boarding school, + foreign exchange, + native country grades? </p>

<p>I just checked the price of those boarding schools. They are ~55k COA for tuition + board. That’s crazy guys, even at a half off tuition they would still be higher than the COA of CC which is 20k a year for an intl student.</p>

<p>2 yrs of CC + 2 yrs of no fin aid OSS Public (UCLA, Michigan) is 150k total or 37.5/yr avg. After paying 100k for BS, she’d need to find a 4 yr offering her close to a full ride, 42.5k/yr scholarship to get the same total cost as CC . Wayy to risky guys. </p>

<p>I also know some smaller privates that offer some merit aid to transfer making the total COA 45k or about 32.5k/yr avg for a CC transfer. </p>

<p>I agree with you - paying $100K for boarding school would be insane. Just like attending a CC if you can’t pay for a regular university afterwards. I am personally not advocating for either option. </p>

<p>I’m not convinced that boarding school is a good idea at all under the circumstances, and certainly not 2 years of it. (But if the OP does decide to attend a boarding school, there are several with a cost of attendance below $20K/year.)</p>

<p>The real issue is that the OP seems unable to afford a university education at sticker price, even if he started out at a CC. (The OP stated that he could afford one year of boarding school without financial aid but not two years. That means his education fund can’t be much more than $50K. That won’t get you a university education even if you do start at a community college.) So, the OP would need financial aid for college anyway. And his or her best odds of getting significant financial aid would be to apply as a first-year student. </p>

<p>That’s why my main concern is the OP’s ability to apply to college as a first-year applicant. What exactly the OP does before college, whether he decides to attend a boarding school or take a gap year to volunteer in Africa or return to his/her home country and finish high school there, is immaterial to my argument. </p>

<p>

Yes, that’s a risk. But here’s the deal: if an international student does not finish the Bachelor’s degree, it does not matter whether they have some college credits or not. Without a Bachelor’s degree, they can’t apply for a work visa to stay in the US. Nor would American community college credits transfer to a university overseas. It’s all or nothing. </p>

<p>

Not all that unusual. In fact, many international applicants have been educated in 2+ countries before applying to college. Some of my international classmates in college moved around so much that they couldn’t even identify a “home country.” </p>

<p>I suggest BOARDING SCHOOL. Also apply to a mix of TOP ones and AVERAGE ones, as you have been informed. the top ones actually offer more financial assistance/scholarship to offset the total cost of attendance.
The reason here is that, as we can see from OP’s post, he/she does need a little more preparation before college, especially with the writing skills, which would be a big problem if OP should start college now.</p>

<p>Thank for all of you guys’ replies. I’m considering all options. I’m think of applying as a day student, renting a nearby apartment. To the school I wish to go, it’d be lower cost since day student fee is about 11k, boarding student is 41k. At that school, I can apply for financial aid for the second year, though I have to study very hard.</p>

<p>“To the school I wish to go, it’d be lower cost since day student fee is about 11k, boarding student is 41k.”</p>

<p>How much do you think it will cost you to rent and furnish your apartment, pay your grocery bills, maybe even get a car if you need one? Be sure to work through all of that. </p>

<p>How old are you? Most apartment complexes won’t rent to people who are under age, so you need to make certain that your parents can co-sign everything for you.</p>

<p>What kind of visa do you have right now? If it is a J visa, you need to find out if you can remain in the US, or if you are obligated to return home after your exchange year ends.</p>

<p>Why can’t you arrange to complete your education at the school you are attending? If you would need to rent an apartment in order to attend a boarding school as a day student, why can’t you rent an apartment where you are now, and stay in the same school where you already know everyone?</p>

<p>Because as an exchange student, I go to a public high school and they placed me as a freshman.
my J1 will end in June, by the time I come back to US, I’ll be 18 years old. </p>

<p>

The OP is currently a J-1 exchange student; the exchange student status is limited by law to one year at the high school level. In order to stay longer, the OP would need to switch to an F-1 student visa, but most high schools are not authorized to issue the requisite I-20 form. That’s why the OP will probably need to switch schools.</p>

<p>Fun fact: public high schools that do sponsor F-1 visas are required by law to charge F-1 students tuition in the amount of “the cost of their education.” The current going rate seems to be 6K-12K for a year.</p>

<p>If that is the case, DEFINITELY work with the school as far as choosing an off campus housing/quarters… they might be able to recommend something safer that FITS your situation. The last thing you want to do is go-in on this of-campus plan on your own.
Best of luck to you.</p>

<p>What are the rules on your J1? Can you come back immediately? Check that out. Some J1 agreements require a certain number of years outside the US before returning to the US.</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>It doesn’t matter if the OP is subject to the 2-year homestay rule, since that would only prevent him from obtaining a US visa with immigration intent (H, L, K visas or permanent resident status). He would be able be to apply for an F-1 visa and return to attend school just fine. </p>

<p>The rule and the restrictions it carries are explained here: <a href=“http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/exchange.html”>http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/exchange.html</a></p>