4 Reasons Why Community College Was Perfect For Me

As a senior in high school, I felt as if I was the only one not excited about graduation because I had been denied acceptance to the universities for which I had applied. I had given up on having a glamorous college experience and had no idea what the future had in store for me and enrolled at a community college.

During my two years in community college, I reflected on career choices and my future as a whole, all the while using that time to boost my GPA. Once I figured out what I wanted to do, I applied to four-year universities and was accepted to the perfect school for me.

As you are preparing to apply for college, keep community college in mind. It’s a great place to begin your higher education.

Here are four reasons why:

  1. Community college is affordable

The cost of attendance for two years at my community college cost less than one semester at a state college. This is huge advantage that most students don’t realize until they graduate and have to start repaying loans.

  1. Flexibility

Community colleges offer class times designed to accommodate a variety of schedules, making a part-time job manageable for full-time students. There is now a limit on the maximum period of time that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans and the Pell Grant, so make sure to keep track of how you’re progressing in your degree program. You don’t want to lose eligibility for these types of financial aid!

  1. Better Transfer Opportunities

Community college is a perfect solution for those who don’t have the best grades coming out of high school. While obtaining my associate degree, I was able to boost my GPA and resume by working. After graduation I transferred to a university that I would have otherwise not been accepted to in high school. Community college can be seen as a second chance as long as you are willing to make the commitment and college admissions offices understand that some students need more time and experience to discover what they want out of life.

TIP: Many community colleges have “Guaranteed Admissions Programs” whereby students who successfully complete their associate degree at a community college are offered automatic admission to participating four-year colleges and universities.

  1. Attain multiple degrees

Unlike universities, community colleges provide the opportunity for an associate degree that feeds directly into a bachelor’s degree. The time a typical university student will have spent on one degree, a community college transfer will have received two degrees!

Talla Hashemi is a junior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Journalism and Public Relations. She is a virtual intern for the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

6 Comments

  1. so if my mom lets say happens to owe financial aid loans and other help while she attended college would it most definitely make me lose my chances on getting financial aid ? Or would there be an exception.

  2. My college career began in remedial courses at a community college and ended four years later with a degree. For me, it was going to be different. I had a fire waiting to be ignited. The eccentric and quick-witted professors, personable and encouraging nature of the college President, and wealth of opportunities to explore made Community College a best-kept secret that I was fortunate enough to experience. Community college led me to graduating from one of the most competitive universities in the world. Now, I share the stories of academically struggling children from low-income neighborhoods for the education nonprofit, Practice Make Perfect.

  3. I teach a Hiset coarse at Delta Community College in Monroe, La. This coarse provides skills necessary to obtain an equivalent high school diploma. I have always recommended the community college avenue for these very reasons. Also, the classes are usually smaller and the teachers take an interest in the students.

  4. It would have been nice to know which NC community college she attended so successfully that she ended up in Chapel Hill. Community college faculty and staff rarely get the praise they deserve.

  5. I agree with your first three points, and I think that pursuing an associate’s at a community college before transferring into a four-year university can be an excellent idea for some. (Those exploring this option should keep in mind extra fees, such as teacher-written textbooks, that can cause expenses to be more than initially anticipated.)

    However, I disagree with your last point. There is no inherent value in attaining both an associate’s and a bachelor’s. It can be good for you by helping you reduce the number of courses you need to take at a university (be sure to check out your preferred university’s transfer regulations!) but it’s not inherently more valuable. Your bachelor’s is not more valuable because you gained an associate’s beforehand, and telling people you have “two degrees” when you don’t have two bachelor’s degrees is most likely to confuse them.

    • Actually there is an advantage to getting “two degrees.” True once you get your bachelor’s there is no need to mention or promote your associate’s degree in most cases. However while in school you may be eligible for jobs requiring a college degree with your associate’s that one may not otherwise qualify for while in pursuing a bachelor’s. Also, once you get an associate’s degree it can help to “reset” your financial aid eligibility making one eligible for more financial aid than one would otherwise be entitled to pursing a bachelor’s for four years.

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