Are you trying to find the college that's right for you? Have you considered community college during your planning process?
Sometimes community colleges get a bad rep. But they can be a good investment that offers many perks.
From cheaper tuition to smaller class sizes, community colleges offer lots of benefits, says Norma Kent, senior vice president of communications and advancement for the American Association of Community Colleges.
And the secret is out; enrollment at community colleges is up about 17 percent from 2007 to 2009, Kent says.
Check out this list and decide for yourself:
Consider this: according to the College Board, average tuition and fees for the 2010-11 academic year range from $2,713 at public two-year colleges to $6,224 at public baccalaureate colleges, to $33,679 at private doctorate-granting universities. The average published price at private baccalaureate colleges is $27,293; at for-profit institutions it is $13,935. Sure, these are averages, but the savings in tuition and fees alone can be almost half at a community college.
The average community college class size is 25-35 students. Compare that with the same introductory-level courses at universities with 150 to 300 or more students in a massive lecture hall.You’re close to home It’s no secret that college costs can add up quickly. So, if you consider a community college, you’ll definitely be saving in the room and board category, because you’ll likely be living at home. It may mean you have to live with mom and dad for a few more years, but think about the savings!
Time to transition
Some of you know exactly where you want to go to college and what your major will be. The rest of you have no idea. That’s OK. A community college will allow you the opportunity to work on your general education courses while dabbling in topics that interest you—without having to declare a major right away. And after two years, you’ll likely have it all figured out, so you can move on to a four-year school with more focus.
A different point of view
Some will argue that two-year schools have disadvantages, too. For instance, if you aren’t living on campus, you won’t be involved in activities, student groups or sporting events. However, it’s become more common for community colleges and two-year schools to offer on-campus housing so students get the traditional college feel. Also, some say students won’t get qualified professors at community colleges.
While it’s true there are fewer PhDs working at two-year schools and that there’s less research going on, you’re likely getting a lesson from a professional in the industry who has (sometimes daily!) experience in the subject. Consider this when trying to find the community college that's right for you!
Everyone is looking for a unique college experience. Although community colleges are great for many, they aren’t for everyone. Be sure you do your homework before you find and decide on any college or university.
Enid Arbelo Bryant is the Editor in Chief of NextStepU Magazine.