The Difference Between a Community College and a State University Essay
Most high school graduates realize going to college is extremely important - The Difference Between a Community College and a State University Essay introduction. On the average, college graduates make more money than high school graduates. Most companies only employ people with a four-year degree. Therefore, many students think they must attend a university instead of a community college. They think community colleges will not get them the job they want, thus, they do not consider it an option. What is the most viable option for college?
In many cases, attending a community college, then transferring to a university, is the most practical choice a student can make because community colleges cost less, have smaller classes, offer a variety of academic programs, and offer articulation agreements. On the contrary, some people believe only attending a university is the most practical choice a student can make. The cost of tuition is one major reason students choose to attend a community college over a university. “As the price of the traditional product gets more expensive, students are looking for something cheaper.
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The people are starting to speak and we’re seeing it now in the growth of students attending lower-cost alternatives to four-year schools” (Damast). The average savings of attending a community college for an associate’s degree, compared to a university, is approximately $40,000. Therefore, if an individual is eligible for financial aid, they should take into consideration that many financial aid options need to be repaid. It is a financially sound decision to avoid incurring a high amount of debt. If an individual’s parents decide they will pay for tuition, students should express gratitude by choosing a low-cost college.
Many factors contribute to an individual’s decision to attend a community college or a university. Cost should be a primary factor. At many universities, general education classes are large in number. It is not uncommon for these classes to have over 300 students in an auditorium. At community colleges, most classes are limited in size – between 20 to 50 students per class. Having smaller classes means people receive more individualized attention from a professor. “A college in a local community often has smaller class sizes than those which are found at large university campuses.
In many instances, this means that the students will get more one-on-one and personalized instruction with the smaller class size” (Community College vs. Four Year University). Therefore, individualized attention is a major benefit that is not often found at a university. However, most of the students in Quince Orchard High School’s graduating class of 2010, located in Gaithersburg Maryland, enjoyed a hands-on learning environment and individualized attention. If this type of environment suits an individual, a community college is a viable option.
Community college is a great place to experiment. Many people enter college without a clear idea of what they want to major in. Community college offers a variety of academic programs, in different majors, that are available to everyone. At universities, some academic programs are offered for specific majors and not available to everyone. This happens because there is a lack of space. In addition, many community colleges offer intensive guidance counseling that can help individuals assess their abilities, interests, and educational options. Community colleges are a good option for students who are unsure of their academic abilities or long-term goals… Four-year universities are a good option for students who are very confident in their academic abilities and career goals” (Two-Year Colleges). Even though both types of colleges offer a variety of academic programs, students are not required to decide their major while obtaining an associates degree at a community college. Therefore, an individual should explore the options community colleges have and learn about the variety of majors available for anyone to claim as their permanent major.
Many community colleges, in numerous states, offer articulation agreements. Articulation agreements are agreements between community colleges and four-year universities. Articulation agreements increase the opportunity of acceptance to a top university and provide a hassle-free transition for transfer students. They either guarantee that an associate’s degree from a community college will satisfy a university’s requirements or they specify a list of courses that will.
Articulation agreements allow individuals to become more resourceful – a primary goal to master when attending any type of higher education. “As more students are attending community colleges to start their education and then transferring to four-year schools to earn their bachelor’s degree, articulation agreements are becoming valuable tools that ensure smooth transitions” (College Articulation Agreements). However, private universities are less likely to offer articulation agreements when compared to the number of public universities that do.
Even though “Articulation agreements are becoming more common as private schools realize these agreements are needed to compete with public schools for transfer students” (College Articulation Agreements), you should consult a transfer counselor. If the university you plan on transferring to does not offer articulation agreements, maintain good grades to ensure acceptance. Alternatively, some people believe attending a university for four years is the most practical choice a student can make. The stability that four-year colleges offer allows the student more of an opportunity to develop their educational and social niche. Living the traditional college experience allows the student to grow and learn how to take care of themselves while all of their peers are experiencing the same thing” (Gaines). However, as indicated by a new poll from The Associated Press and Stanford University, “seventy-one percent of our respondents said it’s sometimes better for students to pursue a diploma or certificate from a two-year school than aim to enter a four-year college” (Turner).
These respondents said the quality of education at a community college was excellent or good. Although most students attending a community college still live at home, they become independent. I interviewed Catherine Raff, a transfer student from a university to a community college, and asked her which type of secondary education allows an individual to become the most independent?
Catherine’s response was, “students that attend a community college have a better opportunity to practice their independence because they have to rely on transportation to and from college, and they become more resourceful” (Raff). Furthermore, students that attend a community college learn how to become resourceful by getting help from tutors, teachers, and counselors. Nobody is holding their hand either. Despite parental involvement from time to time, community college students are very similar to students that attend a four-year university.
The choice to attend a community college and/or a four-year university is important. In many ways, this decision will help an individual shape their future for prospective opportunities. There are a number of important differences between community colleges and four-year universities. By learning about these differences, people can make an educated decision about where they want to pursue their secondary education. I chose to attend a community college for various reasons. Which path of higher education do you prefer?