Attending a community college opens up a realm of possibilities in higher education

Community colleges are a wonderful way to begin your academic journey. While attending community college, you’ll receive a terrific education which will prepare you to transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree at another school, or will teach you the skills needed to enter a specific field through one of their associate degrees or certificate programs. The benefits derived from beginning your education at a community college are vast.

What are some of the benefits associated with attending community college as the first step in higher education?

Affordable costs

The affordable tuition that community colleges offer can’t be beat. You get a first rate education and because their tuition doesn’t carry the hefty price tag that goes along with attending a prestigious university, you get a comparative education without breaking the bank.

Highly transferable credits

Attending community college before transferring to a 4-year institution is a good way to get those pre-requisites (if needed) and general education courses under your belt. Having previously worked in admissions at a community college, it was common to see many students from other bachelor and graduate degree programs transferred in to pick up lower level introductory classes they were missing from their transcripts. These students were attracted by the same quality of learning they received, but with lower cost; students simply transferred these credits back to their degree programs at their primary college. Also having the experience of taking basic classes at both a community college and a 4-year institution, it can be easily argued the more expensive college didn’t offer more insight into the general education requirements, and the quality of learning was equivalent.

Quality of education

Community colleges often get a bad rap, yet terrific instruction can be received at one of these schools. Unfortunately, community colleges are often criticized with claims that students are getting an inferior education. Nothing is further from the truth. Many students find their community college degree programs more than prepare them to move onto the next level of education. The standard of teaching is second to none – the professors are usually experts in knowledge and many of them actively work their respective fields. Faculty at community colleges are typically made up of both full time professors and part-time adjuncts so you get the best of both worlds – education coupled with “real world” lessons. Professors aren’t typically preoccupied with research and publishing, the primary focus is on the student.

Enriching experience

My years spent both as a student and an employee at community college was an enriching experience. The environment is a diverse one and you get to interact with people from all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The student population is unique as compared to a 4-year university and this experience enriches the education process.

Low-stress application process

Many students get overwhelmed by SATs, essays, entrance tests and interviews. Applying to a community college is not stressful at all, and the process is pretty straightforward. It is not uncommon in many of these schools to be able to have your admission form and / or registration slip processed in a matter of minutes.

Community college is a door that opens up excellent prospects in higher education. Earning a degree in the community college environment can give you a great opportunity to have the freedom to explore your options while deciding what program to major in for a bachelor degree. The instruction received in community college is typically all-encompassing, well-defined and provides a solid foundation as you prepare to move onto the next phase in your academic career.

Attending community college can be a valuable experience. In 2009, FastWeb, a website dedicated to providing college resources, noted four out of every 10 high school graduates were opting to go to community college. The first-rate education many students receive through a broad spectrum of foundational knowledge needed to pursue a degree and career in business and technology is an excellent springboard to move on to the next level of education. Many students find the courses completed at community college degree programs well-prepare them for the bachelor level. Community college is an excellent gateway for students to enter higher education as it opens up a realm of possibilities.