How Community Colleges Can Fit Into Your Education Plans

Making plans for the future? There’s a lot to consider: college prospects, education financing, career goals, etc. There are many easy-to-overlook ways of making even the most complicated plans at least a little bit simpler. Here are four ways community colleges can help you achieve your dreams.

Save Money on Gen. Ed. Courses

Before students can pursue a major, both private and public colleges require them to complete “general education” courses in basic subjects such as math, science, composition, etc. Because these courses are basically the same everywhere, most universities allow community college students to transfer these credits. With research showing that annual tuitions at community colleges in Pennsylvania cost on average slightly more than half the amount of tuitions at private universities, it’s clear that community colleges are stepping-stone for students with limited financial means.

Ease into Living Away from Home

College is a learning experience in more ways than one. For many students, it’s the first time they will be living away from home in their entire lives. This is both a blessing and a curse, opening up opportunities for greater independence while also taking away a valuable safety net. Unlike private colleges, where dorming is part of the experience, most community colleges are local, allowing students to stay at home while pursuing their education. For those who are hesitant about living on their own, community college can help make that transition easier.

Experiment with Different Majors

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? A lot of us think we do, but that isn’t always the case. Research shows that more than half of all college students change their major at least once over the course of their education. This can be tricky in the context of a private university with hyper-specialized career tracks and prohibitive credit costs. Similar to the way community colleges students can save money on easily transferable gen. ed. courses, community college students also have more freedom to experiment with different majors until they find the one that’s right for them.

Get a Two-Year Associate’s Degree

Even the most meticulously organized educational plans can be undone by unexpected events. Family obligations, financial issues, health concerns, and more sometimes require students to take a break from pursuing their education to focus on other developments. While few private institutions are likely to offer two-year associate’s degrees, these are actually the bread and butter of most community colleges. A two-year degree might seem pointless if you’re planning for at least a four-year education, but life happens. If things go awry, it’s better to have a two-year degree than no degree at all.

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