For those of you that aren’t familiar with the US education system, a community college is a higher education institution that offers a wide variety of two-year degrees, known as Associate Degrees, at a fraction of the cost of traditional four-year universities. There are numerous community colleges all over the United States and Canada, many of them offering top-quality higher education. Many people attend a community college for two years to save money, before transferring to a four-year university to complete their degree. Generally, community colleges are open enrollment, meaning that any high school graduate is eligible to attend. This makes community college a great option for high school students who want to further their studies but didn’t achieve the Grade Point Average required for a top university.  Still not convinced? Here are our top 5 reasons why community college may be a great option for you.

1. Better Decisions

Many people aren’t sure what type of career or university experience they want when they finish high school. That’s why going to a local community college for a year or two can be great as it allows you time to explore your options and inevitably make a better decision. Plus, if you’re planning on transferring from a community college to a four-year university, you’re able to take as many classes as you want. This means that you can figure out what you want to major in before you enter a university where classes cost a lot more!

Students and families should consider attending a community college for many good reasons. Community colleges have small classes (better learning environment), much lower tuition (compared to universities), easier and faster admission than universities, and they focus on teaching (as opposed to research at universities), and have good student support services.

- Bjorn Myhre, Director of International Recruitment, Green River College

2. Save Money

If you’re not sure what you want to do or what school you want to go to, community college is a great time to figure that out without wasting money. It can help you avoid taking out expensive student loans and starting your career under the pressure of crippling debt! Even if you do know what you want to study and where community college can help you save thousands of dollars in tuition fees before transferring to the university after two years. Plus, many community colleges have great partnership programs with universities that make it easy to transfer your credits.

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3. Quality Education

Although often underrated, most community colleges offer a great education, with many of them employing lecturers and professors who also teach at four-year universities. In most cases, your local community college will offer the same level of education for your pre-requisite classes as a four-year university would. Class sizes at community colleges tend to be smaller than at big universities, which gives you better access to your professor, as well as extra attention and support if you need it. Community colleges also offer you a variety of valuable networking opportunities, such as career fairs and clubs, that can help you develop your future career.

4. Improved Grades

Getting poor results in high school can have a major impact on your future if it means that you’re not accepted into the university of your dreams. But community college gives you a second chance! By working hard for two years and achieving great results, you’ll have a second shot at getting into a top university or even securing a scholarship for further studies. By developing strong relationships with your mentors and professors, you’ll also have the added benefit of some great references for your university application.

5. Flexible Schedules

Community college programs are designed to cater to all types of students including working adults, which means that they usually offer a range of study options including evening, weekend and online courses. If you need to work a full-time job or have other commitments in your life, the flexibility of community college means that you can easily fit your education around your lifestyle.  

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We asked a few Green River College students why they would recommend attending a community college first (as opposed to a 4-year university).  Here’s what one of them said:

“Going to a community college helped my financial situation because it is cheaper than a four-year university. The class sizes at a community college are smaller which means that it is easier for the students to reach out to the professors. The bond between students and other faculty members in a community college are also stronger because the campus is small enough for all of us to know each other but big enough to have a spacious learning place.”

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