Many high schools push their students to find the perfect four-year institution for after graduation. However, it seems that many counselors within these high schools fail to mention community colleges as a valid option for some students. Not only do they fail to mention community colleges as an option, they also fail to mention how well they work out for most people.
While many students will continue their education at a four-year institution, there are some who feel that moving away is just not what is best for them. Others may have medical conditions that prevent them from living alone. Also, four-year institutions are not for everyone. Some know they want to go into a specific trade and seek out a trade school. And simply put, some people just are not ready to leave home after high school.
As someone who left high school with my heart set on a four-year school and ended up spending five semesters at a local community college, I understand what it is like to feel uncertain about leaving home and having two disabilities that made my circumstance a bit different.
What my advisors in both the high schools I attended failed to let me in on was that you are able to save thousands of dollars while attending a community college in comparison to a four-year institution. Typically, when anyone thinks of going to college money comes to mind. It can be ungodly expensive to attend some schools all around the country. However, community colleges are significantly more affordable with the same prerequisites as many four year schools!
Not only are you able to save money, but the schools also have a disability service center that is much easier to get an appointment at. Obviously, not everyone is in need of a disability service center but for the ones who are in need, this can be a make or break deciding factor in a school of choice.
On top of saving money and having excellent disability service centers, there are also many opportunities to improve your grades in a two year. Some people may not have had the grades to enter a four year school straight out of high school. The community college setting often provides a clean slate for many struggling students.
Small class sizes insure that a student will get the opportunity to ask questions and participate in class unlike many four year institutions. Many students in high school realize too late how important grades actually are, and this opportunity to start fresh is something that counselors in the high school setting should be promoting.
Not only are you able to start fresh with grades, but you are also able to start fresh as a person. Entering any college setting is an opportunity to grow as an individual and student. In many community colleges, if you are in the transfer program, it is required that you take a college transfer class. In this specific class you are almost always required to take a career test. The professor spends a significant amount of time offering guidance on what kinds of careers are possible with the results of your test. In addition to helping you with your personal career test, if you ask they would be more than willing to help you plan out a course schedule to ensure an easy transfer process.
Something that is equally important to mention about the community college route is your end goal. Unlike a four year school, you will not receive a Bachelors degree. Instead, you will receive an Associates degree after completing the required courses. After you have finished your courses, you are on the track to entering a four year school ahead of where you would have been if you entered a four year institute.
All in all, there are many benefits to going to a community college. This is not to say that four year institutes are not excellent choices as well. However, the community college route should not be seen as "less than" going directly into a four year and should definitely be spoken about as an equal option for student in high school.