When you think about college you usually picture going off to some far away school, being subject to a lot of temptation and bad influences, and living in a bug infested dorm with a load of rowdy teenagers. However, college does not have to be like that. In fact, community college is a great way to start your college education off on the right foot while still staying close to the comfort and safety of home. Here are some reasons that community college could be great for you:
1. Save money – The first reason I always give for going to community college is the great savings. I tell you I have done it all. I went to private colleges and state colleges. I went to online schools and community colleges. And of those various avenues of education community college was by far the most affordable option. Since my family did not have a lot of money my community college expenses were paid for, including books, through government grants. I even got a little money back! Think of it, being paid to go to college. On top of that, expenses were reduced because I could live at home still. I did not have to pay for an apartment or dorm and I got to eat home cooked meals every day, which was much better than eating cafeteria or fast food. If I had wanted to I could have taken public transportation to and from school also and reduced costs further still.
2. Close to home – Staying close to home is a great idea for many homeschooled teens. I mean, going to college is hard enough without losing the support system of friends and family right? Not only that, but by staying where you are familiar, you know where to look for help like tutoring, you know what to do on weekends and holidays, and you never have to worry about being homesick. Plus, like I said, it is a lot easier to let mom cook than to do it yourself!
3. Great education – Do not be deceived, community college classes are just as good as ones at the universities. Like I mentioned, I have tried it all. You know what I discovered? They are all the same. Sure, you will have good and bad teachers, but the overall classes and curriculum are identical. Once you reach the college level everything is pretty standard. That means you can take your first two years of basics at a community college and be well prepared for ‘real college’ whenever you chose to go.
4. Fast degree – Another aspect of taking your first two years of basics at a community college is that you can get an Associate’s degree fast! It is like a halfway make reward. No one can dispute that you have been to college then! (Which does happen, sadly enough.) By getting your Associate’s degree you will find it easier to transfer credits as well.
5. Easy to transfer – Speaking of transferring, most community college credits transfer completely to in state schools. However some out of state schools may give you trouble. By getting an Associate’s degree you bypass much of that and can transfer with your credits intact, meaning you do not have to redo classes and spend money. Did you also know it was a lot easier to get into your first pick school as a Junior rather than a Freshman? By the time you have shown your mettle in community college the university will be chomping at the bit for you to come there and finish your education. For those who did not get great scores in high school (if you went) this is also a way to start over from scratch and get into a quality university.
6. Early start – Community colleges have other benefits too. Many schools offer early start programs. That means you can take college course for college credit while still in high school. This can save you tons of time and kill two birds with one stone. Hands on classes like Biology and Chemistry are often hard for homeschoolers to do at home. Why not take a college level class and get credit for both? You can also start before your friends by taking summer classes and even winter classes. Get finished faster and on your way to a job you love.
7. Faster classes –Speaking of faster, community colleges often have accelerated classes. Things like math or languages are sometimes combined into one semester. You can take Algebra 1 and 2 or Spanish 1 and 2 in half a year instead of a whole year. Winter classes only last a couple of weeks but count the same as a full semester. There are all kinds of ways that these classes can help you graduate faster.
8. Diverse environment –Another aspect of community college that you might not have thought about is the diversity. Not only are there many races and religions in a community college, but there are also many ages. Unlike a traditional university, the age of the students is not relegated to teen and twenties only. Instead there are young adults, older adults and even seniors taking classes. This variety can help you to experience more of what real life is like. After all, your job will not be with people all your same age. You can learn how other generations think and feel and get insight from people who are looking to start over fresh as adults. As a matter of fact, my mother returned to community college as an adult and loved to help the teens to think about life from a different point of view.
9. Smaller size – While some universities boast of having campuses the size of a city or classes bigger than a baseball stadium, community colleges are all about the personal touch. Classes are usually smaller and the teachers are open to talking to the students and answering questions in class. The campuses are usually within walking distance and easy to access. You get to know the students you go to class with and most community colleges have a small town feel rather than a big city hustle.
10. More help – Speaking of the personal touch, community colleges offer things that bigger universities can’t. Help for the disabled (learning or otherwise), one on one tutoring with the teachers for free, and even job interest testing are some of the services they offer. Since community colleges have a variety of students with different needs, they are more comfortable offering help, even with ‘dumb’ questions. For first time college students this is a great asset and can help you get acclimated to the new environment. Some community colleges even offer counseling for students that are having trouble coping.
Overall, community college is a great choice to homeschool students and recent high school graduates. It offers all the benefits of a university but also allows you to stay where you are comfortable. Why put more stress, more debt and more chaos in your life? Check out your local community college and see if it will work for you!