As a senior in high school, I felt as if I was the only one not excited about graduation because I had been denied acceptance to the universities for which I had applied. I had given up on having a glamorous college experience and had no idea what the future had in store for me and enrolled at a community college.
During my two years in community college, I reflected on career choices and my future as a whole, all the while using that time to boost my GPA. Once I figured out what I wanted to do, I applied to four-year universities and was accepted to the perfect school for me.
As you are preparing to apply for college, keep community college in mind. It’s a great place to begin your higher education.
Here are four reasons why:
- Community college is affordable
The cost of attendance for two years at my community college cost less than one semester at a state college. This is huge advantage that most students don’t realize until they graduate and have to start repaying loans.
Community colleges offer class times designed to accommodate a variety of schedules, making a part-time job manageable for full-time students. There is now a limit on the maximum period of time that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans and the Pell Grant, so make sure to keep track of how you’re progressing in your degree program. You don’t want to lose eligibility for these types of financial aid!
- Better Transfer Opportunities
Community college is a perfect solution for those who don’t have the best grades coming out of high school. While obtaining my associate degree, I was able to boost my GPA and resume by working. After graduation I transferred to a university that I would have otherwise not been accepted to in high school. Community college can be seen as a second chance as long as you are willing to make the commitment and college admissions offices understand that some students need more time and experience to discover what they want out of life.
TIP: Many community colleges have “Guaranteed Admissions Programs” whereby students who successfully complete their associate degree at a community college are offered automatic admission to participating four-year colleges and universities.
- Attain multiple degrees
Unlike universities, community colleges provide the opportunity for an associate degree that feeds directly into a bachelor’s degree. The time a typical university student will have spent on one degree, a community college transfer will have received two degrees!
Talla Hashemi is a junior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Journalism and Public Relations. She is a virtual intern for the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.