SAN MARCOS- upon graduating high school, many students take the road most traveled and head straight into their college careers at a four-year university. Students who choose to go this route tend to spend thousands of dollars a year, racking up debt and financial obligations that haunt them after college graduation. To avoid less havoc in student debt, some of those high school graduates take an alternative road: community college.
There is this myth that many students have in the back of their heads that community college is bad, or you wont get a job if you go to such establishments after high school. But if anything, it is quite opposite for those who have gotten an associates degree and transferred after two years. There are numerous benefits of taking a few years at your local community college and ease the strain of stressing of financial obligations. First, no matter what college you go to, you are required to take pre requisite classes that for most universities are the same. According to moneycrashers.com most private universities (if this is the option you choose) costs around $36,000 per year. That’s $144,000 for four years of attendance. If you choose to go the public university of your choice, it is usually $9,000 per year on average. But, after four years, this price is still around $36,000! It all adds up and most students don’t realize that community college cuts your loans in half once you graduate from the public university you attended.
Texas State University Art Major, Sarah Coleman gives insight as to why she started her college career at her local community college.
“ For me it was a financial thing after high school,” Coleman said. “ I took all my basics at Collin College in Dallas, Texas, and I made sure to make good grades…I transferred to Texas State with not only a good standing GPA, but more money in my pocket.” Another pro, aside from money, is that community college gives you time to mature and “Test the Waters.” Most students who stay home, value the time they have to work while going to school, giving them experience on how to handle stress while not spending as much as they would at a full blown university.
“ My advice to anyone hesitant about choosing community, is don’t look at it as a bad thing,” Coleman said. “ I was able to stay home, work, and really get myself mentally prepared for a crazy experience here at Texas State.”
Staying at home for the first two years is also a major plus for many people. Not only do you save money on thousands of dollars of rent, if you’re lucky and live with your parents, it means free food and board. Classes at big universities can add up, but add rent, food, going out, electricity bills etc. to the list, and you have even more debt that you have to pay attention to.
Michael Edward, business major had insight as to why he took summer classes at his local community college. “Although I didn’t necessarily transfer to Texas State, I’ve gone back home to take classes at my community college,” Edward said. “ It’s clearly cheaper than staying here in the summer, when I could go home and just spent hundreds on classes I really need.”
According to the official Texas State Office of Undergraduate Admissions, they have welcomed over 3,827 transfer students back in Fall 2015. On their website, it goes into details about what qualifications are needed to transfer successfully to Texas State and step by step protocols students need to get their credits transferred.
In the end, all students look forward to completing their degrees no matter what road is taken. There are pros and cons to everything involving the average college lifestyle. Whether it is money obligations or just staying closer to home for the first few years, community college is just another option many use to their advantage.