5 Simple Reasons Community College Should be Your #1 Option

By Jacob Hallman

If you’re on the fence whether community college is a good fit for you, you’ve come to the right place.

The CC option is GREAT for students – including homeschoolers – who want to save a buck and don’t yet know what career to choose. With that said, I’m not going to bore with you with the same old “community college is cheaper” argument.

Instead, I’ll share how community colleges help women, STEM students, and really anyone who wants to jumpstart their career… fast.

1. You’re More Likely to Finish with a Bachelor’s Degree than Other Students

Community College

Source: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

The numbers in the chart above speak for themselves, but how did JKCF come up with this report? The data comes from a 2010 publication by the US Department of Education.

Also, the graduation rates are skewed lower because the researchers considered all students. This lumps full-time, part-time, degree-seeking, and non-degree seeking students together.

Suffice to say that part-time and non-degree seeking students don’t graduate as often as the rest.

The big lesson here is that you’re statistically more likely to graduate with an undergrad degree by attending a community college. The toughest path involves transferring to another 4-year college once you’ve chosen college #1.

2. Last-Dollar Scholarships Make Community College Free

What’s a last-dollar scholarship?

It works like a state-government kickback. Once you’ve applied for the FAFSA and maxed out your possibility for academic scholarships, these last-dollar options cover the remaining balance so you don’t have to.

Below are the states that currently offer this kind of program according to the Campaign for Free College Tuition:

  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Arkansas
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Tennessee
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana
  • California

To be fair, another 9 states offer some form of tuition help, usually through generous scholarships:

  • Wyoming
  • Iowa
  • New Mexico
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Maine

What’s the bottom line?

Governments are falling all over themselves to make college affordable, and they’re using taxpayer dollars to fund it.

And now you know which states offer the best options.

3. Silicon Valley Doesn’t Care if You Went to Stanford

According to Airbnb Homes CTO Vanja Josifovski, “In my prior experience, I have built programs sourced from community colleges, and I can tell you that in some cases I would hire people from that kind of nontraditional background, along with people from the top schools in the U.S., and over time, they will perform at a similar level. So I would encourage you to go and look at places other than those top schools.”

Why is this important?

Because there are 500,000 unfilled jobs for computer programmers in the United States. But according to Code.org, only 35% of high schools teach programming languages and computer science.

The relevance of C++, Python, and Java will disappear over time. However, those skills used to program computers will evolve as trained workers interact with technology using different methods.

To get started, you can start coding with free apps like Scratch or consider the possibility that a degree may be entirely unnecessary for programming.

Here’s my point:

Josifovski’s perspective suggests a growing national trend where companies measure your true skill sets instead of worrying about whether you went to the “right” school.

4. Community Colleges Excel at Helping Women Get Tech Degrees

Ladies, community college is the way to go if you’re studying STEM topics.

54.7% of women with a bachelor’s degree and more began their STEM career in community college.

That statistic comes from former Bustle columnist Lane Florsheim in a 2015 report referencing 2012 data. If you haven’t heard of Bustle, they are a young and hip progressive journalist organization.

That said, the community college environment really is more nurturing, especially if you choose to attend a local school where most of your high school classmates went. Also, community colleges skew toward a female majority by a nearly 6/10 margin.

So consider community colleges a place to embrace girl power. 😉

5. Some Community College Graduates Earn More Than Bachelor’s Degree Holders

Here’s the deal:

30% of Americans with an associate’s degree make more than their 4-year counterparts upon graduation. That’s far from a majority, but the data behind the statistic provides some valuable context.

To better understand this, let’s consider the contrast in macroeconomic supply and demand. As most high school graduates choose bachelor degree programs, demand for graduates with technical and occupational degrees outpaces supply.

But this broad number does not tell the whole story. By mid-career, many bachelor’s degree holders enjoy earnings that have caught up with associate’s degree holders. Of course, the difference in student loans ultimately favors choosing community college too.

But I’m guessing you already knew that.

To maximize the chances of your entry into this 30% group, I’d recommend pursuing a career in one of the following jobs. Alternatively, real estate agents with good communication skills can easily earn 6-figure salaries.

Conclusion

So that’s it for my reasons to consider community college as your #1 option. We’ve covered a lot of ground to counter the unnecessary stigmas surrounding this truly attractive education path.

Now I want to hear from you. Are you considering a community college? What’s keeping you from committing? Or what finally led you to commit?

Let me know in the comments below.

About the Author

Jacob Hallman is the learning-obsessed co-founder of StudyGate, a tutoring platform for students. Why so obsessed? Well his skills on the saxophone have nothing to do with it (OK maybe a little). It’s because StudyGate provides insanely practical help that students can use to start getting better grades.

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