When thinking about college, most students don’t bother looking at community colleges, but instead veer towards state schools. However, that doesn’t make community colleges any less impressive. In fact, community colleges might be more suitable for many than a university.
Most people don’t want to go to a community college for many reasons, one of the big ones being that most students confuse community colleges with being the last resort or a fall-back option for the students who didn’t get accepted to other traditional schools.
“While some community college students take full advantage of what their schools have to offer, just as many students fail to make the most of their community college experience. Many community college students simply do not realize what their schools have to offer in terms of career planning and other support services,” writes Kate Barrington, author of the article, “Why do community colleges get a bad rap?”.
Most people are aware that community colleges are cheaper than the average 4-year university, but most don’t know how much. One year tuition at San Diego State can range between 25 and 30 thousand dollars. UCSD falls between 60 and 70 thousand dollars, without financial aid. Meanwhile, at Grossmont Community college, the cost per unit is only 46 dollars. A full-time student (someone enrolled in 12 units) would only have to pay about 552 dollars a semester. And at Cuyamaca, it’s $750.
A community college like Cuyamaca and Grossmont also has many of the benefits a university would have including sports teams, clubs, study abroad programs, child care and financial aid. Sports teams include men’s baseball, football, basketball tennis, dive, and water polo, as well as women’s badminton, basketball, cross country, soccer, volleyball and more. And that doesn’t even take into account the over 30 clubs and extracurriculars.
Grossmont college has over 65 majors, including Astronomy, Photography, Dance, and Culinary Arts, while Cuyamaca has over 60 including Automotive Technology, Psychology, and Oceanography.
Most people who go to community colleges don’t stay for more than 2 years to earn a certificate or Associate’s degree and then move on to a university to get their Bachelor’s degree.
So, as you can see, it’s all about perspective. Community colleges aren’t bad- they have just been underappreciated. You get all the benefits of a university, or state school, without having to pay full price.