The benefits of community college before university

Lexi Doll, Opinion Editor

Barely adults, 3 months out of high school, moving away from home, spending thousands of dollars only to change their major two or three times and then go on to wait tables until they’re 30 trying to pay off their student debt. This is one of the most common outcomes of a college freshman going into a four year university not knowing what it really entails.  Attending community college out of high school is much smarter than attending a big university right away.

Cost is the biggest factor when it comes to deciding between university and community college.  “It’s cheaper and it gives me a chance to get my feet wet before I go onto a bigger university,” says senior Zach Quinn, who plans on going to Glen Oaks Community College next fall.   On average, tuition at a community college is half that of a public university. At KVCC it costs $107 per credit hour versus a large university like Michigan State which, as of 2016, costs arounds $468 per credit hour. says, “Public and private universities are much more expensive, lately the rise in tuition has outplaced average inflation by a wide margin. At a public university, tuition can be upwards of $8,000. It’s even higher at private universities.  Add on other living expenses and the overall cost, also known as the ‘sticker price’, averages over $20,000”.

Community college can also help you learn about who you are as a person and what you want to do with your life.  Society expects 18 year olds right out of high school to know exactly what they want to do and go to a four year university away from home to pursue said career. “I think [community college] can get you even more prepared for university,” says senior Cam French.  Attending a state or community college for the first one or two years can prepare you for what’s to come when/if you go onto a bigger university.

Going to a community college for your first couple years of college can also make it easier for you to get into the university you want.  You are more likely to get into a university when you transfer as a junior because there are less applications for your class as well as having the chance to build a strong portfolio of college-level coursework.  Big universities get thousands of freshman applications every year, when you apply as a junior, you will have a lot less competition to get in. says, “Low high school grades or SAT or ACT scores will not carry as much weight when applying to a four-year university if you do well at community college.  Admissions counselors at four-year universities love to see that you are capable of overcoming obstacles and bettering yourself”. If you are not one for standardized tests and didn’t do well on your ACT or SAT going to community college might be your best option.  

Overall, community college is a good way to get needed credits for less money and figure out what you might want to do as a career.  You don’t need to spend thousands on thousands of dollars on an education when you can get it for much cheaper and a just as good of an education at a community college.  Graduating high school doesn’t always mean your completely ready for the real world, but community college can help you get there.