When I was 18 this thought was mortifying. I wanted to spread my naive wings and fly away from everything I had ever know. I wanted to take on the world and experience all new things with all new people in an all new place. Just like all my other friends were doing. So… that’s what I did. My parents financial situation did not afford me the luxury of going to school on their dime, and we couldn’t take out any personal loans, due to bad credit. The only loan that accepted us was the Parent Plus Loan. Which is, notoriously, one of the worst options. In 6 months, I had racked up $15,000 of debt with a 6.8% interest rate. I hated the school I attended, and I still had no clue what I wanted to do.
Right off the bat, there are multiple pros to going to community college over going to a four year university:
- First of all, you will live at home
- This is where sacrifice comes in. You will still live with your parents, but you save SO MUCH MONEY doing this.
- You get higher education at a fraction of the cost
- Being from Wilmington, we have UNCW and CFCC. This meant that almost all of the professors at UNCW also taught at CFCC to earn extra income. I was able to get a university education in a community college setting.
- $4,026 v. $912 – UNCW v. CFCC tuition costs for 12 hours of classes (not including: room and board, supplies, books, and ‘fees’).
- Students at community college receive financial aid as well.
- You’ll get an additional degree
- It’ll be a general education degree (A.A. or A.S.).
- It’s something else to add on top of your B.A. or B.S. degree.
- You’ll figure out what you want to do without blowing money
- 50-70% of students change their major at least once. Meaning, they sometimes have to start all over again and waste a ton of money doing it.
- If you go to community college, you will get to complete all the gen ed courses while having the opportunity to explore your interests, without paying an absurd amount per credit hour.
- You can boost your grades
- The misconception about Community College is that it’s ‘easy.’
- It’s not really ‘easy,’ it’s more so that the professors have a wide range of students from varying backgrounds. They work with you, rather than against you — so you have the option to work very hard in a flexible environment
- The application process to 4 year Universities is much easier
- When you are applying to college as a high school senior, you are competing in a very saturated market. There are thousands with inflated GPAs, all vying for the same opportunities and limited resources.
- In community college, a 3.8 college GPA looks much better than it did in High School.
- The counselors in community college want to help you get there — More people moving on to Universities means more funding and accolades to the community college.
I wish someone would have sat me down and given me this talk. If you want to make your whole world easier, GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE FIRST. You won’t be drowning in debt like I am at the moment and you can build your academic experience, and career, without breaking the bank!