Community College Vs. Four Year University; Which Is Right For You?

There are reasons that high school students choose to attend a community college and reasons that they choose a four-year college. The right choice will be different for everyone and depend on the individual’s projected career path, financial situation, academic interests, and what they are looking for in a college experience.

Cost can be a large factor in determining whether a student chooses community college or a four-year college. Community colleges are typically much less expensive and may provide an affordable option for students who cannot find a way to afford a four-year college, but want to continue their education. If your financial situation might stand in the way of a four-year college, community college can be a great option. It is also worth exploring financial aid options, including grants, scholarships, and loans that may be available to students entering four-year colleges to help lessen the financial burden.

Your intended career path and academic interests can also be factors in choosing between a community college a four-year degree. A community college can also be a good choice for someone who doesn’t know if they want to enter a profession that will require a four-year degree. Community college will give you two years to explore your interests and make decisions about your future career. After two years, you will have an Associates Degree and can decide if you will enter a career or transfer to a four-year college with a better idea of what you plan to do. Most community college credits will transfer to a four-year college and can be used towards your Bachelors Degree. A four-year degree is often the preferred choice for students who have career goals that will require at least a Bachelors Degree or graduate school.

The atmosphere on campus can be very different between a community college and a four-year college. Many community colleges are non-residential, with students living off campus instead of in dorms and campus housing options. A four-year college will generally have more resources available to students as far as a comprehensive library, an alumni network, and access to sports and clubs.

Beginning at a four-year college also ensures that you are taking the right classes from the very beginning to count towards general requirements and major requirements. Alternatively, community colleges are a great place to catch up on material from high school so that you can get into a better four-year college and not spend time there taking courses to fulfill requirements.

If you are considering transferring to a four-year college after community college, it is important to talk to staff at the community college to find out about credit transfers and assistance with the process. Speaking with college administrators and staff will often help you to make your decision. High school guidance counselors can also be a great resource in helping you to decide between a community college and a four-year college.

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