The choice to attend a community college first or go straight to a university can present a quandary for many students who are planning their careers. Factors such as cost, curriculum, and course of study can provide some valuable information with which to make that decision.
Community College Benefits
One of the valuable benefits of attending a junior college first before going to a university is the cost. The cost for tuition at a community college can be substantially less than the tuition at a four-year school. Additionally, courses that are difficult to get into at a university may be more readily available at a junior college, and the teacher to student ratio is often lower.
Perhaps one of the most advantageous reasons for attending a junior college first is to have time to decide what course of study to pursue or which major to select. Not all universities offer every major, so taking the time to choose a major prior to choosing a university will allow the student to select the best university for a particular major once it has been chosen.
Campus life at a university can be a fun and exciting experience for new college students. There is definitely a different atmosphere and feel at a four-year college. Extracurricular activities and clubs can be added benefits at a university.
For students who have already selected a major, beginning college at a university can have some advantages. The student’s curriculum can be developed during the first year and the student will know all of the classes to take from start to finish. Additionally, there will be no need to transfer any credits and no chance that some credits will not transfer.
Perhaps the best of both worlds will provide the greatest advantage for some students. They can matriculate at a university while also taking some courses at the junior college. Students can enjoy the university experience while also getting a reduced cost and lower class size for some classes. Additionally, students are able to verify in advance that credits will transfer.
The Choice between Community College and University
Deciding whether to attend a community college or a university can be difficult for some students. While cost, class size, campus atmosphere and other factors may be important considerations, another important factor may help students decide what is right for them. For those who haven’t yet decided on a major, a community college will allow them time for exploration and selection of an appropriate university for their particular course of study. For those who already know what they will study, beginning at a university has many benefits. And for some, a hybrid plan of simultaneous attendance could be just the right balance.