A career path does not have to be etched into stone. In fact, many students are now entering college without a definite plan. Thus, they fear to enter the great commitment of a four-year college. Some are choosing to enter California community colleges to continue their education. If you do select to pursue that path, then it is good to have an idea of what you are getting into.
What is the Difference Between a Community College and a Regular College?
The primary difference is that with a four-year institution, you are making a stronger commitment. With California Community Colleges, you are less restricted in how you attend the college of your choice. You also have a greater chance of acceptance because there are fewer hoops to jump through. While there are benefits to attending a four-year university, attending a community college or California community colleges, also known as a two-year college, does not mean you failed. Not in the least.
Every one of your dreams can still be accomplished. Even those who do qualify for a larger school choose to complete some of their coursework at a community college. For everyone, there are both educational and financial benefits that a local community college provides.
What are the Educational Benefits of Attending California Community Colleges?
- Smaller Class Size – At a large university, class sizes can increase into the hundreds. At California community colleges or elsewhere, sizes usually are 50 or less.
- Help you Define your Field of Interest – For some, they know from the starting gate what they want to do with their lives. But for others, those lines are not as defined. When you attend a university, you must select a major so you can line up your first two years. While most allow you to change majors, some classes you take may not count toward your switched major focus. In a two-year college, like California community colleges, you have more freedom to explore your options while you narrow down what interests you.
- Stronger Focus on your Field of Interest – One of the main reasons people choose to attend a two-year college is that their interests only require a two-year degree. Within a larger university, you can get lost in the shuffle with 200 students vying for the attention of one professor. The smaller class size allows you to get more attention as well the professor has more time to focus on the details of what they are teaching. California community colleges and others like them can also target their learning for the local area where they are teaching.
- Class Schedules Help Fit Your Schedule – A university is generally structured around full-time students — those who are doing nothing but going to class and studying. A community college has a much more flexible schedule. Classes are available in the evenings and on weekends, even online, to fit into your schedule of work, family, and other obligations.
What are the Financial Benefits of Attending California Community Colleges?
- Much Less Expensive – Credit hours are not all the same. Just because you are studying the same subject, maybe even out of the same textbook, does not mean you will pay the same. California community colleges and others are almost always less expensive than a four-year institution. In fact, many college-bound students will choose to complete their first two years in a community college, then transfer into a larger university just to save some money. The first two years are all the same, wherever you go. They are called your Basics; English, Math, Science.
- Do Not Have to Relocate – Another expense you will save is room and board, or the cost of an off-campus apartment. If you attend a local community college, you can most likely stay at home while you save money. Most universities mandate that first, and often second, year students live on campus. These regulations do not exist with a community college.
- Makes Transferring into Four Year Later Easier – Just as we stated with it being less expensive per credit hour, you are saving money in the long run on your college journey. Attending a two-year college also allows you to increase the attractiveness of your transcript. This is especially beneficial when your High School grades were less than stellar. Finally, it makes it easier because you will have a better idea through your two-year experience of what you want. You will have a clearer vision of your call in life.
California Community Colleges: Final Word
We have explained the pros of attending California community colleges. But are there any drawbacks? There are a few. Like:
- Fewer choices in the classes you can take.
- Some believe that the professors are below standard, but this has proven to be a myth.
- Not much of a social scene.
- Possible transfer issues. You need to research to make sure that the class you are taking can transfer, and count if you should transfer to a university.
Community college is the answer for those that do not have scholarships or grants and still want to pursue their college education. Many want to go to college to improve their worth. And regardless of if you obtain your education through a prestigious university, or in the halls of a local community college, your intrinsic worth has increased. Any college education increases the chances of obtaining a better job with greater pay. For some, God has called to explore the far corners of the United States on the campus of a four-year college. But He has also given purpose to those who stay home and are educated on the smaller stage. The most important thing is to be in His will, wherever that may be.
Jeff S Bray wrote this article.