What Are the Advantages of Attending Community College?
Two-year colleges continue to appeal to millions of students.
Community colleges, sometimes known as technical colleges, are two-year schools that offer certificate and associate degree programs. Before the 1970s, such institutions were known as junior colleges and were typically privately run. Today’s community and technical colleges are public-supported schools, receiving taxpayer support on the county or state level, sometimes both.
So, why would a high school student consider a community college instead of attending a public or private four-year college upon graduation? There are several reasons, each offering advantages for students that are looking to launch their higher education pursuit while still maintaining the option to go further.
1. Open enrollment — Most community and technical colleges have an “open enrollment” policy. What this means is that high school graduates that want to attend the school can regardless of how well they performed in high school or on their entrance exams.
2. Remedial education — Two-year schools enable students who struggled in high school to seek out remedial education. Sometimes this means students have to take extra courses, but once that classes have been successfully completed, students can go on to finish up their coursework. Community and technical schools enable students to make amends before transferring to four-year institutions, ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree and confident in that pursuit as well.
3. Cost savings — Make no mistake about it: college is expensive and two-year public colleges offer significant savings over four-year schools. College tuition continues to outpace inflation, rising 2-3 times the inflation rate. In recent years, tuition at community colleges has risen as well, but generally at a slower pace. Families see the cost advantage of attending two-year institutions and are embracing this option for their adult children who stay at home while completing their first two years of college.
4. Specialized training — Not every career path requires students to have a four-year degree. Community and technical colleges offer programs with certificates in management, food service and nursing assistant to more comprehensive programs offering associate degrees in nursing, welding and automotive technology. Once a certificate or associate degree has been obtained, students can test the workforce and begin their careers.
By pursuing the community college path as part of an overall strategy of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, students can get their general requirements out of the way and explore their career path options. When students transfer to a four-year institution, they should be ready to declare a major and in a much better position to complete their bachelor degree.
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