In the states, community colleges accept every living breathing human body that wants to prolong their education – all for a low and affordable price. But junior colleges don’t have the best reputation among high schoolers.
There was an air of judgment, at least at my school. I’m pretty sure it’s like that at almost all schools. Your school of choice/university is the cumulation of the work from all those years of awkward teen hell. People think going to community college first is basically saying, “Hi, I flunked high school, and I didn’t wanna go the army route soooo.”
But I really wish someone wrote this for me when I was a high school senior. I could have chosen to go to community college, I knew it was going to be cheaper, but I just couldn’t pride-wise. Now that I’m an actual adult – I question my own judgment and ignorance. I would have walked away $20,000+ richer.
1. Community College Saves Money
Its a norm in the US to get into student debt in order to afford higher education. Acquiring any debt before you have the chance and skills to work in a professional environment can damage future plans, including marriage and career paths.
According to the Federal Reserve, in 2017 alone, the typical student debt that someone accumulates after four years of staying in a college is between $20,000 to $25,000, with monthly payments taking between $200 to $300 monthly.
Students can also apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), making the cost of studying even lower. Basically, in a typical university, students often pay $400 to $600 per credit hour, which means $1,200 to $1,800 per class. In community college, credit per hour charges between $45 to $250, which could mean $375 to $1,425 per class.
Attending a community college will also benefit your living cost. You could rent, getting a car, and worrying about your food or washing expenses living with parents. Living at home might be boring, but it is also a great way to save money.
2. Good for Credit Scores
Building a good credit score is one of the sneakiest yet most critical part of administering finances. According to FinAid, payment history weighs 35% of your score. This indicates how late or early you are in meeting your payments. Ideally, the earlier you pay your debts, the better. The lesser the amount of debt you need to pay, the easier it is for you to meet your payments, which would mean a better credit score.
3. Higher Future Cash Flow
According to Pew Research, young college graduates usually have second jobs and are struggling financially, basically because a huge chunk of their income goes to student debt repayment. In addition, a study by Holger Sieg and Yu Wang revealed that having student debt can negatively affect marriage, career, investment, and educational prospects down the road.
With less or no student debt at all, expect more cash flow and funds available. More cash flow means ticking the positive net worth box sooner. This includes money goals for yourself to further take your life to the next level with assets like stocks, bonds, and real estate properties.
4. More Flexibility with Work and Study
What makes community colleges attractive to some students is the fact that they can have more opportunities to work. According to the Community College Research Center, about 80% of the community college students are working while 39% are working full-time jobs. Night and weekend classes are available in community college, it’s a lot more flexible.
Working while studying helps in the future attitude of recent college kids. The kids from my university that didn’t work/didn’t have to work…guess what – they partied and slept in a lot.
Being exposed to a workplace early on develops communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. According to the ManpowerGroup survey cited by Harvard Business Review, 50% of organizations consider early skills mentioned above to be the most valued workplace skills.
5. Community College Is Still a College
According to the Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of college graduates struggle to start their careers. However, those who are from community colleges who earned an associate’s degree earn more than $8,000 more compared to those who have just a high school degree. If a 4-year university isn’t in the cards yet, definitely still go to community college.
Having more time to work means more time to find internships in the field that you want to be transferred to when you’re ready to go onto a 4-year university. According to SUNY, internships usually increases the marketability of a professional, as well as benefits networking.
6. Easier Admission Transfer to a 4-Year College
Although community colleges have a bad reputation by accepting students with low grades, this doesn’t mean that the quality of these schools is low. In fact, what community colleges offer is a chance to redeem your academic path by making it easier to transfer to a university.
By getting an associate degree, you can transfer your earned credits to a 4-year university in order to finish your bachelor’s degree. This process gives second chances to young adults who want to attend universities later. It’s a fresh start for young adults who all deserve second chances.
7. More Time to Find Yourself
This is about 85% of the reason why I wish I attended community college first. Money made up the rest of the 15%. It’s weird they let know-nothing 18-year-olds to decide on their major (and what they want to do for the rest of their life). Especially because most 18-year-olds have rarely lived in the real world or know enough about themselves to decide on a truly fitting lifelong career path. I didn’t know myself until I was over 26 years old.
If you’re one of the students who have a hard time choosing what to take for college, taking up general courses would be a better choice. Going to a community college will let you earn credits while you’re still trying to sort your career path.
9 Famous Community College Graduates
There are some people who will give tell you community college is a waste of time. I took courses at community college when I was in high school, there are yes, a few people who have been there for years only half trying in class. But plenty of other students are late simply bloomers, on a budget, or just buried talents. Here are some very successful people (and I’m sure there’s more I haven’t looked into) that attended community college.
1. Steve Jobs – De Anza College
Before being known as the founder of Apple Computers, Steve Jobs attended De Anza College. He first enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, only to drop out six months later. Jobs attended De Anza College of two semesters. He would eventually launch the first ever Macintosh in 1984 the Flint Center in De Anza College, saying “Now I’d like to show you Macintosh in person.”
2. George Lucas – Modesto Junior College
George Lucas is known as the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, two popular franchises all around the world. He attended Modesto Junior College and studied anthropology, sociology, and literature. During this time, his love at films started when he began using an 8 mm camera for filming car races.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Santa Monica College
Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for his films and involvement in politics (The Governatorrr). He started taking English classes at Santa Monica College in 1977, where he earned a degree by correspondence later on from the University of Wisconsin-Superior
4. Morgan Freeman – Los Angeles City College
As an award-winning actor and film director, Morgan Freeman is a legend in Hollywood. He is known for movies like as “Million Dollar Baby”, “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Now You See Me”, and “Deep Impact.” Freeman was a former soldier when he moved to Los Angeles and attended the Los Angeles City College, where he also worked as a transcript clerk.
5. Tom Hanks – Chabot Community College
Thomas Jeffrey Hanks is known for his excellent acting in both dramatic and comedic roles. He is currently the 4th highest-grossing actor in North America. As a part of his acting training, he went to Chabot Community College and studied theater before transferring to California State University.
6. James Dean – Santa Monica College
James Dean is one of the most popular actors in his generation, as well as in the whole history of Hollywood. Although he only has a handful of movies before dying in an accident, he made sure that he will be known for his excellent acting. Surprisingly, he considered a career in law as he was enrolled in Santa Monica College and took pre-law. Dean managed to get transferred to UCLA, changing his major to drama.
7. Jim Lehrer – Victoria College
Jim Lehrer is known for being the former Executive Editor and a former news anchor for the PBS News Hour. Starting his career from being a political columnist, he became one of the most recognizable TV journalists. But before graduating from Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, he got an Associates degree from Victoria College.
8. Eileen Collins – Corning Community College
Getting in the space is not an easy task, being the commander of a space shuttle is even harder. Eileen Collins proved that everything is achievable when she became the first female pilot, as well as the first female commander of a space shuttle. Collins went to Corning Community College and received an associate’s degree in Mathematics and Science before earning more degrees from traditional universities.
9. Halle Berry – Cuyahoga Community College
Award-winning actress Halle Berry is known for her role as Leticia Musgrove in the 2001 romantic drama movie “Monster’s Ball.” She was also a model and joined a handful of beauty contests, one of which was the Miss Wolrd 1986 where she got the sixth place. But before that, Berry studied at Cuyahoga Community College and studied Journalism.