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What Are the Positives of Attending a Community College?

written by: jciotta•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/7/2011

Do you ever wonder about the advantages of attending a community college? If so, learn about its financial cost-effectiveness, why it's easier for students to transition from high school and why community college appeals to many universities. But is that all?

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    Are You Ready for a Four-Year University & its Costly Tuition?

    Community College Costs Graduating from high school and then going off to college is a large step for many students, especially in regard to academics and maturity level. A student (and parents) should really assess if the student is ready to attend a four-year university with all the academic and social demands. If not, community college is a great option. Or perhaps the student is ready to attend a four-year college, but simply cannot afford the cost. In this case, community college is also a great choice.

    Community college used to have a stigma attached. But the stigma is quickly going away because students and parents are realizing what a financial steal community college is. For example, the average annual cost of tuition, room and board and fees at a public university as of 2009 is $14,333 (College Board). The average cost of a private college is $34,132 (College Board). The average annual cost of tuition and fees for 2008 for a community college is $4,552 (U.S. News & World Report). The savings are astronomical.

    Therefore, many students choose to transfer after two years of community college into a regular four-year university. If the student does well academically and takes extracurricular activities, including volunteering and internships, universities look highly upon these applicants. In fact, White Picket says in an article entitled "Community College Leads to Ivies" that an admission recruiter from New York University cited community college students as her favorite applicants because they are the best incoming students academically and socially.

    Many students who start at community college transfer to prestigious, four-year universities . . . and with a great financial aid package.

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    Transition From High School

    Class Size Community College The transition from high school is often smoother for a community college student. Firstly, the student usually stays at home and saves on room and board or renting an apartment. The best strategy is to stay instate because for an out-of-state student, the price of the community college significantly rises.

    Class sizes are much smaller too. A four-year university lecture hall for a required class averages anywhere from 150 to 300 students. A community college class averages 25 to 35 students, which is reminiscent of high school class numbers. However, be forewarned that classes fill up fast at community college and students must mark the registration date on their calendars. General Education classes, for example, fill up very fast. These classes include chemistry, biology, composition, and so on. They are required classes for students, especially if they want to transfer to a four-year college. Also, with many community colleges, there is an earlier registration date for those with seniority, so moving into your second year, keep this in mind.

    Now you know what the advantages of attending a community college are! Any student seriously considering community college should register as soon as possible to receive the best course schedule and take full advantage of extracurriculars to increase her/his chances of transferring to a four-year university.

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    "How Much Does College Cost?" by Kim Clark, U.S. News & World Report, April 10, 2008.

    "Community College Leads to Ivies" White Picket College --

    Photos by Salvatore Vuono / --