Acknowledge the Community College

This summer, many upcoming high school seniors are starting to tour universities to find their future school, and yet many ignore their possible perfect option: community colleges.

Haylee Haupt, Columnist

Most high school juniors right now have to start looking into where they’re planning on going for college, and that can be an extremely stressful task. You have to figure out what major you want to study, which colleges carry the courses you need, and find an affordable location. Hours upon hours are spent just looking for a college, not to mention all the paperwork and admission expenses that have to be dealt with, too. But most students don’t realize that there is an easier and cheaper alternative.

High school students tend to think that they must get into a state college in order to feel successful. However, community colleges can be just as rewarding, and even a better decision in some cases. Community colleges offer a much lower tuition cost, and you can still apply for financial aid and scholarships. Also, if you don’t know exactly what you would like to major in, you can take a general degree, or just test the waters with one of your choices without destroying your wallet. In the United States alone, there are 1,462 community colleges, both public and private. While it’s cheaper to choose one in state, if you’re really set on moving out of state, some community colleges accept out-of-state students. According to Top Universities, the yearly average cost of tuition for a public state university is $9,139 for state residents, and $22,958 for out of state students, while general community colleges average at $3,347.

There are only two main conflicts with community colleges. First, most community colleges don’t offer on-campus housing. However, many will provide discounts at nearby apartments, and it’s very easy to find roommates. Second, you can only get an associate’s degree. While an associate’s degree may be perfect for some students, others might need a bachelor’s degree or higher, especially considering how more and more jobs outside of entry-level require bachelor’s degrees, according to Careerbuilder. A simple solution to this is to just transfer to a state university, which community colleges try to make as easy and seamless as possible.

Enrolling at a community college for your first two years of education past high school can save you thousands of dollars, and if you’re undecided about what major you want, you can switch with ease or just get a general degree and work your way up to a bachelor’s degree or higher later in life. Most students feel pressured to get accepted into a state university, even if it isn’t the best option for them. Community colleges offer a perfect solution for indecisive or impecunious people who still want a college education.