The satirical NBC sitcom “Community,” featuring veteran comic Chevy Chase, centers around a group of students attending the fictional Greendale Community College. Definitely a diverse bunch—single parents, senior citizens, former dropouts and more—the cast represents a variety of community college student stereotypes and is defined as a “band of misfits” by the network.
“Community” may be a current hit, but community colleges have been the butt of jokes for decades because of their open admissions policies and the large number of non-traditional college students in attendance. If you’re considering going to community college but also like the idea of attending a four-year college, here are some things to consider:
1. You will save money on classes. Attending a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year college or university can drastically slash your tuition bill.
2. Going to community college provides you with an opportunity to boost your GPA and prove you’ve got what it takes to succeed before applying (or re-applying) to your dream school. Earning great grades during your first two years of college might even be your ticket to future scholarships.
3. Community colleges are conveniently located, allowing new high school graduates to live at home with Mom and Dad rather than pay room and board. On the other hand, if your college experience wouldn’t feel complete without living in a dorm, this might be more of a “con” than a “pro.”
4. Due to open enrollment policies—which mean that anyone with a high school diploma or its equivalent can take classes—community college coursework is often a bit easier than classes offered at a four-year school. This can translate into less stress if academics weren’t your strong point during high school, but if you’re a stellar student you can wind up bored.
5. If you plan on having a job while going to school, community college classes are offered at a variety of times to accommodate working adults’ schedules—mornings, evenings and weekends.
6. Student organizations exist at the community college level, but due to the fact that most students live off-campus (some community colleges do have dorms!) there probably isn’t a huge party scene. Depending on your social life’s “necessities,” this can be a good thing or a bad thing.
7. Community college students come from all walks of life. You will meet traditional-aged college students in their late teens and early twenties as well as adults who are going back to school and even older folks who enjoy learning for the sake of learning. This idea doesn’t appeal to some incoming freshmen, but keep in mind that you’ll be around people of all ages once you enter the workforce, too.
Want to learn more about the two-year colleges in your area? Use our comprehensive college and university directory to search schools by state, name, or ranking. Visit the StateUniversity.com Top 500 Ranked Community Colleges here.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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