Would it be a waste to go to community college after working hard in HS?

<p>I have a 4.0 uw, 4.2 w and 2200 SAT, but the EA schools I've gotten into so far have offered FA packages with ~$15K+ in loans/year. It seems too much, and I've only applied to highly selective in-state colleges. If I don't get into any, I am stuck between going to CC and transferring or taking out loans. I am wondering what people's opinions are on transferring from CC vs. going straight in with a lot of loans.</p>

<p>It's not a waste. It's practical. That said, if you are interested in applying to "safer" and more affordable four-year colleges, you still have plenty of time.</p>

<p>It's a waste only if you turn it into one.</p>

<p>In my pretty comfortable suburb of an East Coast city, it's not an uncommon practice for families to send their kids to the local community college for two years--even if the kids are high achievers--and then have them transfer to four-year college or university. Turns out, that's one option in our state's prepaid tuition plan; evidently, a lot of parents chose it. And my local community college has a pretty good honors program for students like you. Does yours?</p>

<p>In addition, if you're looking for a good community-college experience, this is probably a good time to get one. When the economy is bad, the students in less expensive colleges tend to be somewhat better than in a strong economy. In a soft economy, many students who might otherwise have gone away to fancy private colleges go to state colleges and universities instead, and similarly, many students who might have gone away to privates or state flagships stay home and go to more affordable community colleges.</p>

<p>I'll admit, it's got to be less exciting to tell people, "I'll be going to [local community college]," than it is to say, "I'll be going to Northwestern." But after you get past that, it really can be a good experience.</p>

<p>At Happykid's community college, your GPA and test scores would make you competitive for a full-ride scholarship: Tuition, Fees, Books, Materials, Summer Abroad. No kidding, there are two different honors programs that offer that. And note that I wrote "competitive". Not everyone who applies to those programs get in. Students from this CC transfer to colleges and universities all around the country in addition to the big public institutions in-state. Make an appointment with the admissions office at your local CC, and find out what they can offer you. You may be surprised.</p>

<p>$15,000 each year in loans means that you will need to find a co-signer, or your parents will have to take on Parent Loans. The Stafford Loan limits (what you can take out on your own) are: $5,500 freshman, $6,500 sophomore, $7,500 junior, and $7,500 senior year. This totals $27,000 over the course of four years. The aid packages that you have been given so far are unaffordable.</p>

<p>A student with a 4.0 un-weighted average and 2200 SAT scores should be competitive at many schools that can provide a better financial aid package than the ones you have been offered. Perhaps you are looking at the wrong schools. Or perhaps the rest of your application doesn't measure up to your grades and standardized test scores?</p>

<p>Remember also that not all community colleges are the same, just as not all 4-year colleges are the same. All things being equal, I think strong students are better served to plunge right into the 4-year college experience. It would be helpful perhaps if you listed the schools you plan to apply to RD. If your list is comprised of schools not known for good aid maybe we can point you in a better direction.</p>

<p>There's nothing wrong with community college, it's really what you make of it. But I think Hudsonvalley is right, there should be plenty of schools that would offer you more in merit aid. My son had lower stats than you and was offered up to $20,000 in scholarships alone.</p>

<p>wow happymom, that sounds wonderful. Congrats. </p>

<p>Kimberlyy, what is the amount you and your family can afford? Pin that down and go from there. What state are you in? </p>

<p>And no, going to community college is not bad - probably just a different path than you had imagined. Also, see if your CC has anything close to happykids program. Personally, I'd much rather not have the debt.</p>

<p>The relative desirability of starting at community college does depend somewhat on your major and other factors.</p>

<p>A student who is very undecided can attend community college and explore to a greater degree than at a four year school, since the four year school will want him/her to declare a major within two years (and, at a four year school, not starting prerequisites for some majors early closes the door to those majors). Taking extra semesters at a community college is a lot less expensive than at a four year school.</p>

<p>However, students who want to take more advanced junior and senior level courses as freshmen or sophomores will find such options lacking at community college. Some majors may also have courses not available at community college and therefore require "catch up" after transfer.</p>

<p>Community college transfers mostly go to state universities (including the flagships), where pre-arranged articulation agreements ensure transferability of specific courses. Private universities would have to individually evaluate transfer credit.</p>

<p>Some students who start at community college transfer to the state flagship, do well, and continue on to PhD programs in the top graduate schools of their majors.</p>

<p>It may help others help you if you mention what your intended or possible major may be, and which community colleges you have access to.</p>

<p>sorry to hijack this thread but uh...what would your advice be to students wanting to pursue a physics/astronomy degree? Or something else in the hard sciences?</p>

<p>NO undergraduate college is worth $60,000 in debt. None. Not one. Not any.</p>

<p>Community college, as previous posters have said, is a great alternative and is what you make of it. Yes, you will some have classmates who are not the sharpest or the hardest working, but that will not prevent you from getting an excellent start to your education is that is what you decide you are going to do.</p>

<p>Another alternative might be your in-state public 4-year schools. Have you considered those?</p>

<p>
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what would your advice be to students wanting to pursue a physics/astronomy degree? Or something else in the hard sciences?

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<p>To start your own thread.</p>

<p>One thing not mentioned yet about transferring from a CC is the effect of going to a college for only 2 years (and its really more like 1.5). The students attending all 4 years have had time to develop friendships with fellow students, get to know some profs, work their way into research positions if that's what they're interested in, etc. When you show up as a junior its not as easy to do this. And if you're not especially outgoing you may find it easier to build a good circle of friends starting as a frosh when everyone is new and looking to meet people, as opposed to 2 years later.</p>

<p>That said, I think that if its too late to find colleges that are more affordable then you'd be better off starting at the CC. The debt you're talking about will be a real albatross around your neck after you graduate. For example it will limit your ability to take the relatively low paying entry-level jobs that you need to get your foot in the door in many fields. </p>

<p>There is info about student debt at <a href="http://projectonstudentdebt.org/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://projectonstudentdebt.org/&lt;/a> that you should read thru, especially the "voices" tab.</p>

<p>What do you want?
Some kids I know are fine going to CC and then transferring to college. Some really want the 4 year experience and get into a local state college(commute or work part time/take loans whatever). If going to a CC will de-motivate you (and you need to be in a setting where you get motivated by your peers), then don't do it. It really depends on your CC and your personality.</p>

<p>Wow! So flippant before Christmas! And I thought parents were more mature. But I suppose they're just as catty and difficult as the rest of us.</p>

<p>If you worked hard in high school, then you should at least be able to get a good scholarship to a low level state college (unless you live in CA or something). Lots of those colleges accept applications up to August or so, so there shouldn't be a reason you can't get in. Trust me, you would rather go to a low level state school than a community college. For one thing, the former tend to have some sort of residential life and dedicated honors programs. As for community college, hardly anyone is there except for class (or at least if you're at a branch campus). Yeah, living away might be more expensive to live somewhere else, but unless you are adamant about staying at home, I think you should consider taking part in a really important aspect of college besides the education.</p>

<p>My experience with community college sucked. It might not be much, but I don't think it's really worth anyone's time unless someone really needs to work to support themself or their family. Trust me, if you have a 2200 on the SAT, you will be feeling bored and miserable all the time.</p>

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<p>This is not necessarily true. Some of the less selective state universities are heavily commuter schools serving a large number of non-traditional students who happen to live nearby. The social life could very well resemble that of a community college.</p>

<p>Also, the state flagship-level universities, at least in California, tend to favor transfers from community colleges over transfers from four year schools.</p>

<p>However, many of the things discussed vary between different states, state universities, and community colleges, and majors. If the OP would mention which in particular are under consideration, others could perhaps give more useful specific information.</p>

<p>Regarding majoring in physics, the usual prerequisite math and physics courses should be findable at many community colleges. For other sciences, if courses like astronomy or geology are required, they may be less easy to find.</p>

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<p>But most 4-year colleges that I know of have dorms. Even if most of the people leave, there will still be a central dorm life with people who at least live there on the weekdays. On the other hand, most community colleges don't have dorms. People will leave after class every day like on high school.</p>

<p>I actually am in CA. I applied to only Berkeley and CSU Cal Poly though. I am hoping Cal Poly will give me decent aid if I get in.</p>

<p>I applied to Case Western and received a $25k/year merit scholarship, but it replaced the need-based grant money I probably would have gotten otherwise. They are the school that offered me ~$15k in loans, including $13k on my parents which is unacceptable.</p>

<p>EDIT: I would go to Berkeley if I did get in, but is it more difficult to get in as a transfer for a competitive major in the College of Chemistry?</p>

<p>Would you receive better aid from a wealthy private university/college? In other words, do you have demonstrable financial need? Sometimes the most expensive schools end up being the most affordable ones.</p>

<p>Also, there are many less glamorous schools out there, state and private alike, that would shower you with merit money for your stats. Start researching them now; you still have time.</p>

<p>Community college is not a shameful or limiting option--there's nothing wrong with going to CC and transferring out after sophomore year--and in California especially it can take you very far. However, it is not your only option at this point, and you shouldn't automatically jump to it. Research.</p>