Pro’s and Con’s of Attending a Community College

College.  The beginning of a new chapter, and possibly your first experience of being away from home.

This can be a challenging step to take, and you may not be ready for it.  That’s ok – attending a community college may be the perfect option for you.  Here’s a list of the pro’s and con’s of attending a community college first before a university:

  • Pro: It’s way cheaper

The cost of attending a university compared to a community college is shocking.  When I graduated from my senior year in high school I was not too keen on attending a JC (junior college, which is the same thing as a community college).  It made me feel like I was inadequate, like I couldn’t handle taking on the challenge of a 4-year university.  And this really wasn’t the case.  I graduated with a 4.4 GPA, but the cost of college was just too much to bear.

You’ll save thousands of dollars by getting your GE done and out of the way by attending a JC.  You’ll be very thankful when you see how much you saved overall when you graduate with your degree.

  • Con: You may be closer to home than you’d like…

The undeniable question of “So I have to stay home longer?” is yes.  This was the case for me, anyway.  The JC I attended, Mendocino Junior College, was located right in my hometown, 15 minutes away from my house.  This was a little too close to home for me.  I was ready to move out, be the adult I thought I was well prepared for.  Looking back now I realize I wasn’t ready to venture out on my own.  I changed so much in the 2 years it took me to graduate from the JC, and I knew the growing aspect helped tremendously in how well I did my first year at UC Davis.

  • Pro: It’s not just cheaper, but you’re saving money for later on.

If you’re like me and you’re able to still live at home while going to a JC then you could potentially be saving even more money.  Depending on how your parents are or what you living condition is like, you might be able to get by living rent-free and your food still paid for.  A lot of parents I know are very accommodating to their kids when they know they are trying to better their future.  They want what’s best for you, and if that means staying home a little longer and saving money in the process I’m sure they’ll be on board with the idea.

Especially if you have a part time job on the side where you can have money-flow coming in it will help hugely when it comes to paying the big bucks for a university later on.

  • Con: May not be as prepared for the university level.

Unfortunately, community colleges can get a stigma of being easy.  In my case it was fairly easy for many of my classes.  So, when it came time to transfer to a university that first quarter I did not feel prepared.  It seemed like the expectations from a community college to a 4-year university were very different, especially what they expected out of you reading wise and for your written essays.

This can be a hard struggle to get right.  My best advice for this is to not overload yourself with a bunch of units that first quarter wherever you are.  It’s best to take the bare minimum to be considered a full-time student and do the best that you can.  Test the waters before you decide to plunge in head first.

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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.