Community College or Four-Year University?

This is becoming a more demanding question to answer in terms of the rising tuition costs and the costs of living.  My grades in high school were good, always above a 4.0, but that wasn’t going to be enough for me to attend a four-year university right out of high school.  It’s hard to say which is best suited for your needs, but I’ll tell you my story in hopes that it can enlighten your path to college.

Financial Stress

I’ve always wanted to go to college, and I knew that after my senior year was over it would be my first chance of getting out of my hometown- which I wanted it, badly.  What teenager doesn’t?  However, the money just wasn’t there.  The cost of tuition alone was too high, let alone you factoring in rent, food, gas, etc.  I knew looking at the numbers it just wasn’t going to add up.  So, I decided to attend the junior college in my hometown for the first two years before transferring.

The Pay Off

Yes, this meant I had to stay at home for another two whole years, but I can’t express how drastically this has changed my life.  By the time I graduate I will have less than half the debt most college students have by attending a four-year university right after high school.  I was also able to work part time during the first two years at Mendocino Junior College while being a full time student, which helped me to learn how to balance money.  Just this alone has changed to see how important it is to save as much as you can of the money you earn.

Prioritize

If you’re still on the brink line, debating whether you want to leave or not, ask yourself this: Is it that worth it to me to leave for college right now?  If it is, by all means attend a four-year university.  It’s even better if you’re not too concerned with money being an issue.  Some can make it by and have barely any debt to speak of.  I wish I had been in that category, because I would’ve been packed and ready to go by the end of my senior year.

If you’re lucky, like I was, it’s possible that if a community college is near where you’re living it’s worth a chance to attend there first.  If you can stand to live at home for a little while longer you’ll be saving thousands of dollars in the long run.

Discuss Your Options

What you should do is sit down with your parents and go over your options.  Money can be a touchy subject, and your mom will surely love the idea of holding onto you a while longer, but it’s best to get their opinion before you make any set plans.  They’re always going to want what’s best for you, and it doesn’t hurt having an estimate on what you can afford.

Whatever you choose to do, just remember to do it for yourself.  If art is your passion and there’s a university that fits your needs, that’s great!  Do what makes you happy, because if not you’ll be kicking yourself later on.

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Kali White

Kali White

Kali White is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Her goal is to have a career working for a publication company writing and editing. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing and listening to music, and travelling.

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