5 Reasons to Consider Community College

Expensive four-year residential colleges aren't the best choice for everyone. Below are five reasons why community college is sometimes the better option. Before making a final decision, however, prospective students should be aware of the possible hidden costs of community college. It is particularly important to plan carefully if you are going to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree. The cost savings of community college can quickly be lost if you take courses that don't transfer and need to spend an extra year finishing up your degree.

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Southwest Tennessee Community College
Southwest Tennessee Community College. Brad Montgomery / Flickr

Community college costs just a fraction of the total price tag for public or private four-year residential colleges. If you’re short on cash and don’t have the test scores to win a merit scholarship, community college can save you thousands. But don’t make your decision based entirely on money -- many four-year colleges offer excellent financial aid for those with serious need. While tuition at community colleges is often less than half that of four-year public universities and a small fraction of the list price for private institutions, you'll want to do research to find out what your true cost of college will be. 

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Weak Grades or Test Scores

If you don’t have the GPA or test scores to get into a decent four-year college, don’t fret. Community colleges almost always have open-admissions. You can use community college to build your academic skills and prove that you can be a serious student. If you then transfer to a four-year school, the transfer admissions office will consider your college grades much more than your high school record.

Keep in mind that an open admission policy doesn't mean that you can study any program at any time. Space in some classes and programs will be limited, so you'll want to be sure to register early.

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Work or Family Obligations

Most community colleges offer weekend and evening courses, so you can take classes while juggling other obligations in your life. Four-year colleges rarely offer this type of flexibility -- classes meet throughout the day, and college needs to be your full-time employment.

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Your Career Choice Doesn’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree

Community colleges offer many certification and associate degree programs that you won’t find at four-year schools. Many technologies and service careers do not require a four-year degree, and the type of specialized training you need is available only at a community college.

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You’re Not Sure About Going to College

A lot of high school students have a sense that they should go to college, but they aren’t sure why and aren’t really fond of school. If this describes you, community college can be a good option. You can try out some college-level courses without committing years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars to the experiment.

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Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "5 Reasons to Consider Community College." ThoughtCo, Feb. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/reasons-to-consider-community-college-786983. Grove, Allen. (2017, February 28). 5 Reasons to Consider Community College. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/reasons-to-consider-community-college-786983 Grove, Allen. "5 Reasons to Consider Community College." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/reasons-to-consider-community-college-786983 (accessed June 18, 2018).