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Blowing Up the Stereotype

Somewhere along the way, community college got a bad rap for being a place where so-so students are taught by second-rate professors. Like most stereotypes, this just isn’t true. Luckily, more and more high school grads are discovering the many advantages of community colleges:

  • They’re less expensive than their 4-year cousins.

Looking for a really affordable alternative when it comes to knocking out your basic education requirements? Take a look at the eye-popping numbers in the table below:

Community College 4-year Public University 4-year Private University
Tuition per year $3,500 $8,050 $29.900
Total 2-year cost $7,000 $16,100 $59,800
Total Savings $9,100 $52,800

(Tuitions listed are averages for schools in the state of Washington; Taken from school’s posted tuition schedules on school websites)

Think you could find something to do with an extra 52 grand? Yeah, we thought so.

  • They’re a real, recognized start to a complete college education. Community college can prepare you to hit the ground running at a university—they’re a great place to complete general course requirements (so you’ll leave with plenty of course credits to show for your work). And you’ll find that traditional colleges are very welcoming to community college students—they offer a range of resources to walk you through the transfer process.
  • They offer flexible class schedules that meet days, nights, weekends and online. So there’s no reason you can’t work and go to school. In fact, staying close to home lets you keep the same job you already have. Lucky you.
  • They have real, live professors who actually teach. Community college professors teach their own classes. They’re not under the same pressure to research and publish like many 4-year university professors are, so they don’t have to rely on graduate assistants. That’s not to say community college professors don’t conduct important research, they do. But they’re also very accessible to their students.
  • They give you a chance to improve your GPA if it’s not quite up to snuff. Did high school chemistry drag your average down? Or maybe Latin was your Achilles heel. If your grades aren’t quite where you want them to be, community college is a great opportunity to study hard and bump up those digits.
  • They offer many of the same opportunities as 4-year universities. Many traditional college staples such as studying abroad and intercollegiate sports are available at community colleges. Maybe you could combine the two and play sports abroad.
  • They’re not just a great place to launch your career, but a second career too. Tons of community college students take advantage of flexible schedules, online courses and specialized classes to help change careers. For example, many community colleges offer programs specifically designed for students who already have a degree, but need to complete educational requirements to qualify for the CPA exam. Such specific programs are rarely offered at 4-year universities.

These are just a few of the reasons to jump at the chance of a great education right in your own backyard. So, don’t believe the stereotype. Learn more about how community college might be for you.