The College Experience in Community

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During the last year of high school, students begin to think about their next step after graduation. For many, the choice is to earn a degree on their desirable career. Community colleges have many benefits that can help achieve that goal. However, it’s essential to know that attending a community college also contains downsides. When it comes to choosing between a community college or another type of school it’s an advantage to think about price, setting, social life and type of career wanted.

Being able to afford college and not going into high debt is something that students would like to have. Tuition can be very expensive depending on the school that is chosen. “For the 2014-15 school year, students paid $3,347 in tuition and fees to attend a local community college, versus $9,139 for a four-year public in-state university and $31,231 for a private college” (Savingforcollege.com).

This indicates that tuition at a community college is three times cheaper than a regular university and ten times cheaper than a private. Furthermore, students have the option to live with their parents rather than in a room and board which can range from $10,000 to $15,000. Taking advantage of a local school can reduce the number of loans taken out as students will only need to take out big loans after transferring. Meanwhile, those who just want an associate degree can benefit the most by choosing to attend a community college over a university. No matter what degree is wanted, choosing this path can save students thousands of dollars.

Along with being affordable, community colleges also have a better setting for students to learn. The classes are smaller and similar to a high school unlike those in a public university. Professors are able to interact with students one on one and can have open discussions as a class. This can be good for some students as a study by the Pearson Foundation and Harris Interactive stated how 52% of scholars “felt their high school did not properly prepare them for college-level academics and could have done more by placing a stronger emphasis on basic skills” (Prweb.com). This shows how many undergraduate schools are teaching students unnecessary information. Without the right skills, it can be complicated to succeed in college.

Many students drop out because they feel that college is not for them. However, it could be that their high school did not properly prepare them. The ability to talk to a professor and be able to have more of a chance to have a one on one session can be very beneficial. If the professor does not address something during lecture, there is always the option to talk to them right after class or to find them during their office hours. At a public or private university, this would be more difficult as professors are usually busier.

Being able to manage education along with other responsibilities is fundamental to success. According to Jordan Friedman, a graduate from Emory University, the “majority of students who attend community college also hold at least one job outside of class” ( Friedman). This means that students don’t always have a lot of time to be at school all day because they work. Others are involved in other activities like sports and clubs. Community colleges can help with this as most of them give evening classes at flexible hours. The hours typically range from 7 in the morning to 8 in the night. This is very beneficial, especially since public and private universities only offer classes up to a certain time. Another option would be to take online classes which are offered on various subjects in many local schools.

Community colleges not only have flexible hours, but they also give students the ability to figure out what they want to major in without spending so much money. According to the National Center for Education Statistics “about 30 percent of undergraduates in associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs who had declared a major had changed their major at least once” (nces.ed.gov). Many students go undeclared, some choose a major but are a little skeptical, others just don’t end up liking the career that they thought they would love.

Either way, a community college can help save thousands of dollars in case students want to change their major. Classes at a regular or private university are expensive and having to change majors can lead to a significant loss of money. On the other hand, community college classes are cheaper and they also have more counselors that can help with the transition. Due to that community colleges are smaller, there is a higher chance that the staff is not as busy. This makes the process of changing from one major to another very easy, fast, and affordable.

There are so many good things that a student can benefit from when it comes to attending a local school, but there are also some downsides. Local schools do have a great flexibility with classes and a great system to transfer credits to another school. However, there is a setback with not all students having the option to attend a community college. There are community colleges that don’t offer certain credits that can be transferred into a 4-year because they are mostly designed to give associates which leave students at a disadvantage. Crystal Lombardo backs this up by stating that “if you are pursuing a 2-year path at a community college that will lead to an eventual Bachelors’ degree, then you may find that your options for a major may be limited” (Lombardo). Having to go through this may not be the best option for some students. Especially those who have noncommon major because community colleges tend to offer what’s more appealing and accessible. For example, majors that require to do a lot of research are less likely to be offered.

Another big topic that needs to be taken into consideration has to do with social life. Many students want to be part of what it’s known as “the college experience” which refers to living on campus, getting involved and having fun while trying to pursue a career. However, “most community colleges don’t invest as much in campus facilities, athletic programs, and student clubs/organizations” (educationcorner.com) This indicates that attending a local school would not be suitable for students who want to be involved in many exciting clubs or be part of a specific sport. For example, many community colleges don’t offer any water sports because their campuses are small and this leads them to not invest in a pool.

Sororities and fraternities are also out of the picture if attending a community college. Hands down public or private universities have more involvement of students and a broader variety of activities. The reason as to why community colleges don’t have a vast amount of extracurriculars would be because the campuses are small and many scholars spend a lot of time working or doing other responsibilities. Being small also prevents many local schools from having room and board. Those looking for the full experience of college will not be able to find it in a local school.

Lastly, the biggest downside of attending a community college is that it has somewhat of a bad reputation. Natalie Smith, a graduate with a Ph.D. in Education, argues that degrees earned at a community college are “less rigorous, and sometimes less valued than those of a four-year” (Smith). Many people believe that local schools are too easy and that many students attending are there because they were rejected at a regular university. This leads to believe that employers would rather hire graduates who went to a four-year university all their years. This can’t be entirely true because there are thousands of graduates in the united states that attended a community college before transferring. Those graduates now have stable jobs, just like any graduate who went directly to a 4-year university. The myths have been diminishing throughout the years, but some people still believe that they are true. To help combat this, community colleges have been increasing their academics and have become more appealing to students.

Overall there are many pros and cons of attending a community college. In the end, it all depends on what the students are looking for and what best fits them. Many things need to consider before choosing to attend a local school. Community colleges are affordable and have more flexible hours for students who have other obligations. However, they do lack in providing social activities and extracurriculars. Besides, they have been known as being inferior compared to regular universities.

Cite this paper

The College Experience in Community. (2021, Nov 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-college-experience-in-community/

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