Picking the right college is an important decision, not just because of how it can impact your future, but also how it can impact your present. Wondering how community colleges can help you achieve your educational goals? Here are three ways you may find they prove invaluable.
You Get More Bang for Your Buck
If there’s one thing that every college student can relate to, it’s being broke. Being a newly independent adult comes with a lot of responsibilities, many of them financial. And among the priciest expenses of all are the costs of college tuition. There is a reason, after all, while student debt is such a hot topic in the news today.
Fortunately, affordability is one of the areas where community colleges shine. As an example, the average annual cost of tuition at community colleges in Pennsylvania is approximately $9,884 for in-state students. Compare that to an average yearly cost of around $16,500 for private colleges, and you’re looking at a savings of almost $7000. That alone is almost enough to pay for an entire second year of community college!
You’re Not Just a Face in the Crowd
One of the reasons that community colleges are so inexpensive is because they’re usually smaller than private colleges. As the old saying goes, however, it’s not the size that matters but how you use it. The bigger the school, the bigger the classroom. And the bigger the classroom, the less one-on-one time you receive from your instructors.
Faculty members at private colleges typically teach dozens of courses each semester, with hundreds of students under their care. The result? For decades, research has shown that smaller class sizes equate to better, more specialized learning experiences for individual students. Larger class sizes, meanwhile, have been linked to declines in both critical and analytical thinking, and even lower wages following graduation.
You Can Transfer Gen. Ed. Credits
There is one major advantage private colleges sometimes have over community colleges, and that’s specialization. Community colleges exist to serve their communities, hence the name. That means offering a wide range of broad courses. Private colleges, meanwhile, tend to focus on a handful of hyper-specific disciplines. That’s great for students who are 100% certain about their career plans, but what about those who are still figuring things out?All students, regardless of major and regardless of school, are required to take a number of general education courses for subjects that are considered fundamental to all disciplines. These include math, science, literacy, and composition courses, among others. In other words, courses that are the same everywhere. Why pay two or even three times the tuition to take courses whose credits you can simply transfer later? Community college makes it easy.