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Community Colleges: A Vital Higher Ed Option

Though sometimes overshadowed by the ritz and glitz of liberal arts schools and bustling research universities, community colleges truly provide a great introduction to higher education.  Typically offering a range of two-year associates degrees, certificate programs and vocational training, community colleges present a good jumping off point for those unsure of what direction they might want to head.  Moreover, since the majority of schools have adopted an open enrollment policy, all most students need is a high school diploma or GED and the desire to register.

If you’re wary of enrolling in community college but unsure of whether a four-year school is the right move for you at this time, consider the following:

Reasonable Price Tag

Community colleges are generally thousands of dollars cheaper than either public or private four-year institutions.  Additionally, despite the reduced rate, financial aid is often available for those students unable to cover the full cost.  What’s more, the low tuition also allows students to save for bachelors programs, should they decide to apply in the future.  

Unparalleled Flexibility

Unlike many four-year colleges and universities, community colleges don’t require you to be a full-time student.  You have the ability to take a few classes while you simultaneously focus on other pursuits.  Indeed, you can juggle a couple courses as you develop artistic ambitions, hold down a job or tend to familial obligations.  

Improve Your Academic Credentials

Many students often don’t hit their academic stride until after they graduate from high school.  Community college offers students a clean slate and the chance to explore both new and traditional subjects from a fresh perspective.  Additionally, small class sizes and individual attention translate into a supportive environment that truly provides the tools for success.  Certainly, it’s quite common for students to use an associates program as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree.  In fact, many community colleges maintain partnerships with four-year institutions that guarantee an acceptance letter should the student meet GPA and course requirements.

Stay Close to Home

There are a number of students who, though armed with a diploma in hand, don’t feel quite ready to leave the nest.  Of course, there are also a handful of young adults whose families rely on them for help and support.  Regardless of reasons or factors, plenty of students must attend school locally.  Fortunately, accessibility is the hallmark of community college and there’s usually a campus within a short drive of most towns.  Further, many programs are even adding online components.  We think you’d be hard pressed to find a better commute!

Amidst the hoopla of frat parties, Division I sports and hallowed and historic lecture halls, it’s easy to dismiss community college.  However, two-year schools provide fantastic educational opportunities.  They allow students to dip their toes into the higher ed. waters without fear that they will drown (metaphorically speaking of course).  Further, they allow students to move at their own times and their own paces, helping ignite new passions along the way.  And all the while maintaining an exceedingly affordable price tag! 

 

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