Growing up I always thought i would go away to college. I dreamed of going to San Diego State University or school in San Francisco. As I started my senior year of high school, I began to realize the reality of out of state universities. From the high out of state tuitions to the homesickness, I did not believe that would be a good choice for me. I grew up in a family where I am the first generation college student. So, neither my parents or I had any clue about the whole process. I was told by my high school guidance counselor that I should go to community college. I remember looking at her in shock saying, "isn't community college for people who are not smart enough to go to a university?" She laughed at me, "no of course not".
Same Courses, Different Prices
One great advantage to community college is the huge discount. I can take a class that is offered at a big university for half the price. So while you're at a private university paying $1000 a credit, I am paying $150 a credit.
Believe it or not, the same professors teach the same subjects at county. Some professors jump around from school to school and teach the exact course at another university. For example, my professor taught at Seton Hall University Mondays and Wednesdays and then came to my community college to teach Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If the professor is not teaching elsewhere, he/she has experience in their field. My anthropology professor was a practicing anthropologist and went to conventions every year. My Public Speaking professor was an English teacher for 30 years and wrote poetry.
A biology class that would have been 150+ students in a lecture hall, is now 25 students in a classroom at Community College. Your professor knows you by name. Your professor wants to help you and you can ask all the questions you want.
Close to Home
Typically, there is a community college in every county. So, my drive to school was a half hour. Due to this, I did not get stuck in traffic and could still work a part time job.
Every professor offered office hours. Since the classes were small, the professor emailed you right away and allowed you to pick the time you wanted to schedule tutoring. In addition, my community college had workshops and free tutoring to succeed in my classes.
If you took high school AP credits, they could count towards your credits at community college. At my high school, we had CC classes. CC classes followed the community college rules and regulations. If you got a B or over, your college class was completed in high school.
The great thing is there is no need for ACTs or SATs at county college. You are given a basic Acuplacer which places you in your English and Math classes.
If you complete your community college degree (associate's) every PUBLIC university in your state must take all your credits. If I went to my transfer college right out of high school it would have been three times the price than what it is now. At county, they allowed universities to come in and interview students and apply to their schools for free. Even private universities are offering amazing scholarships. Sometimes, the private school costs less than the public university with the aid of scholarships. In my case, I am going to a private school for less than half the price and they took all my credits as I graduated with an associate's degree from community college.
Yes, there is federal work study, jobs and clubs on campus just like a normal university!
In conclusion, I fully recommend community college. It is a place to get a great education for a quarter of the price of a real university! Get your head start there!
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