Students have many choices when they make the decision to pursue college. Today’s educational opportunities are vast, and a college degree program can be customized to be as rigid or flexible as you need.
As one option, many students choose to begin their education at a two-year college rather than heading straight off to the dorms in the four-year universities. There are several key things to keep in mind when starting your education. If you know you will definitely be pursuing your education past the Associates degree level, the preparation for your long term goals will be important.
Two-year colleges aid the planning process
While there is some flexibility and time to declare a four year major, you will want to try to plan accordingly so you do not end up starting over once you transfer. Proper planning ensures all the right courses are taken so you do not have to take many extra courses to meet the bachelor degree requirements.
When registering for courses, try and select classes which have a high degree of transferability. There is no worse feeling than taking 60+ credits at a two-year school only to learn many of those credits will not be accepted towards your bachelor degree. If you talk to your academic counselor at your college, they can help you construct a plan. If you already know which four-year university you plan to attend, it is a good idea to speak with a counselor or admissions representative at that school to ensure the credits you plan to take will be accepted at their institution.
If you are unsure of what your four year major will be, that’s OK. Most academic counselors usually recommend a liberal arts course of study to allow exploration in a variety of disciplines. Be careful not to jump into too many specialized courses initially because they may not apply to your four-year goals once you finalize your decision. One of your objectives should be to try and bring as many credits as you can with you to the next level of your education.
To get started, consider registering for general education credits and take some exploratory courses which interest you. If you opt to go the Liberal Arts route, there will be plenty of room for electives which will allow you to explore different kinds of coursework to help you decide on a major. If you do have a definitive career goal and already know what bachelors degree you’ll be pursuing, carefully choose classes that will apply to your future studies so you don’t waste time and money on non-transferable classes.
Equitable education at an affordable cost
Sometimes people worry they won’t receive a high quality education at a two-year university, but this is an untruth; two-year colleges typically offer excellence in education at a significantly lower cost. If finances are an issue, you’ll undoubtedly save a lot of money starting at a two-year school and receive a high standard of learning.
Real-life experience included in the classroom
Another benefit is you will likely have professors who often are working full-time in their area of expertise and teach as a second job. In these cases, you truly get the best of both worlds because you receive classroom knowledge and gain the benefits of learning from someone currently in the industry.
An affordable education
Often the less rigid decision making and lower costs of a two-year school relieve the pressures a student starting out has, and as a result, more focus can be placed on constructing long term goals; this also helps with making the transition of moving to a four-year university.
Community and two-year junior colleges are an excellent choice to embark upon the educational journey and will prepare you well for your Bachelor degree at a four-year university. However, it is important to carve your path as one that will enable you to transfer. Understanding the ins and outs of transfer will help you prepare better.