By Sydney Newcomb
Community college is a great option for anyone no matter your career path. Not only is it cheaper, but if you're looking for more one-on-one attention than a larger university has to offer, community college might be the right path for you.
Compared to a university, community college can save you thousands of dollars per year. According to Study.com, the average cost for a 2-year college is $3,440 while a 4-year university with tution fees can be as much as $32,410 per year. You also save thousands by still living at home rather than paying for a dorm or apartment. Overall, community college is much more affordable, but if you want the whole ‘college experience’ a university might be for you.
A huge advantage of community college is its small class sizes. Most community colleges have on average around 20 students per class while larger universities have over 150 per class. If you’re looking for a smaller student teacher ratio in your postsecondary education, you might want to rethink a large university such as Virginia Tech or James Madison University. If you don’t mind larger classes and less participation in classes, one of those colleges might be for you!
Although universities allow you some flexibility, community college give you the opportunity to have even more time to yourself. It allows you time to get a job and have plenty of time to do your work. By no means am I saying community college can’t be stressful, because it’s still college level work and it’s a lot of responsibility. You have the options have taking classes part time which 60% of community college students choose to do according to US News. Taking classes part time can definitely help you balance your school and work life.
Personally I think one of the greatest things about community college is transferring credits. The majority of people that go to a 2-year college have a plan to fulfill an associates degree then later transfer to a larger university. With Virginia Western, once you obtain your degree and want to transfer, you are automatically accepted into any university in Virginia. Starting at a university, you aren’t guaranteed to get accepted so why not start off somewhere cheaper then be guaranteed to go anywhere in Virginia?
Virginia Western and Dabney S. Lancaster are two outstanding community colleges that offer scholarships for up to three years of free tuition. CCAP, which is the program offered by Virginia Western closed February 1st for graduating seniors. But Dabney’s scholarship, Dabney Promise, is still open and if you’re interested make sure it’s submitted by February 25th! Here’s the link for Dabney Promise if you’re interested in applying! Along with these scholarships, you can still apply for other ones on the school website or ones you find on your own. These scholarships allow you to get a personalized education and have it cost you nothing out of pocket, what could be better?
A four-year university definitely isn’t for everyone, but neither is community college. The only way to tell what college is right for you is listening to yourself. Consider all your options before applying to colleges, but remember whatever you choose, make sure it’s the right choice for you.