The Advantages of Attending Community College

My eighteen-year-old brother just graduated from high school. He was never a straight-A student, and he hated doing homework.

By sheer test-taking talent, he managed to pass his classes with decent grades. Because of his lack of internal motivation in academics, he knew that attending a four-year university was a long shot.

But just because a large university was out of his reach after high school did not mean college was unachievable. Because he still had some mental maturing to do and felt ill-prepared for the competitive nature of college courses, my brother decided he wanted to attend a local community college in Southern California for two years before transferring to a UC or Cal State school.

At first, my parents were slightly discouraged. Since I began my college career at a well-known university, they believed that route was the best option for a higher-level education. Initially, I had this skewed notion as well. But I have reevaluated my perspectives on attending community college. There are numerous advantages to attending community college before potentially transferring to a four-year university. In fact, it can be argued that completing your first two years at a small local college is better than immediately beginning at a UC or other State school.

If you are considering the possibility of community college, here are the largest benefits that might help influence your decision:

Money

Community college, or junior college, is also a great way to save money while still receiving a higher level education. Larger universities are increasing tuition costs every year, and it can really put a hole in your wallet if you decide to live on campus. By attending junior college, not only do you save money on college courses, but you don’t have to pay rent every month or purchase a meal plan.  You also have the opportunity to save money in order to attend a larger university in the near future. You can easily have a part-time job to earn extra money (and avoid student debt).

Sports

You can also tryout for one of your junior college’s athletic teams. If you have a passion for a particular sport and wish to continue playing in college, you can gain incredible experience competing in athletic competitions and even get your name out there to coaches at four-year universities. Larger schools are always looking to recruit community college athletes as they have more familiarity and practice on a mature athletic level. Some sports that constantly recruit JC athletes are baseball, softball, football, and basketball.

After two years of student-athlete experience, you can transfer to a four-year college and perform on an even bigger playing field with the nation’s best athletes. This is a highly beneficial path for those who didn’t do quite so well in their high school classes but want to keep playing their sport.

Academics

For a large majority of high school students, homework is like the Black Plague. That is, it serves no constructive purpose and can/should be avoided. Unfortunately, homework is the largest percent of your grade in all your classes. Lucky for you, college is all about exams. Midterm and final exams are worth far more than actual homework in college courses. Instead of completing busy work every night, you simply have to study the material on your own and regurgitate learned information for the tests. Every homework-hater’s dream, right?

So you didn’t receive straight A’s your junior or senior year, and you never felt the need to take AP classes. Community college allows for an easy transition between high school and college coursework. Even though classes are not as competitive as those at UC schools, the quality of education is still advanced and will further your knowledge in subjects you are interested in.

So instead of immediately immersing yourself in the intense, competitive environment of a large public or private university, you can ease your way into higher learning in order to effectively prepare yourself for difficult college courses and ultimately the real world.

Attending junior college should never be seen as a lackadaisical decision. In fact, it is a VERY smart decision in today’s society. With increasing tuition fees and courses becoming more and more competitive, the pressure to succeed at large universities is overwhelming.  Why not make life a little easier? Saving money, competing in sports at a high level, and pursuing your passion in academics is all more than possible at a community college.

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Megan Heneghan

Megan Heneghan

Megan Heneghan is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, as well as a Spanish minor. She is originally from Orange County, where she grew up playing tennis. She is currently a member of the UC Davis Women’s Tennis Team. When she is not studying, she enjoys singing, reading, and cooking all different kinds of food. She also loves spending time with friends and family.
Megan Heneghan

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