Are You the Right Student for Community College?

4 ways to know if you're the right student for community college.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

February 16, 2016

Are You the Right Student for Community College?

When it comes to finding the perfect college, it’s all about fit. What may work for some students might not work for others. For instance, some students thrive under a system in which general courses are taken to discover the major that best suits him or her. Other students, however, are simply seeking training for a job they know they want.

You may already be aware that there are some pretty stark contrasts between a four-year and two-year college, but you may not know whether or not a community college is that perfect fit for you. By identifying the type of student that prefers and excels in community college, you may be able to discern whether or not it’s right for you.

Unimpressive GPA

If the Pythagorean Theorem or photosynthesis left you scratching your head and in turn killing your chances at a good GPA, first off, you’re not alone. Second, you don’t have to have an amazing GPA to get into community college. Most of these institutions operate on an open admissions basis, which means that they admit students regardless of their grade or test score history.

As a result, you can use community college as a fresh start and transfer after completing your general courses or proving yourself capable of earning better grades. You can also choose to stay on if you’re certain of your major and eager to enter the workforce.

Desire to Work Sooner

Speaking of entering the workforce, most community college students enter their higher education career already knowing what they want to do. Therefore, they’re able to take more general and specific courses that prepare them for their designated career, rather than general courses that are more exploratory in nature and help to identify a future major. With that, students are able to graduate and begin earning income sooner.

Desire to Work Now

Of course, many students attending community college work while they’re in school. Whether their jobs are full- or part-time, a two-year school provides its students with flexibility. Plenty of courses are offered in the evening for those that work full-time, and community colleges are institutions that understand and encourage students to work to either pay for school or gain experience.

Better yet, many community colleges have work/school programs with companies in the surrounding area. Through these programs, students at community college can get hands-on training in a field they hope to work in upon graduation while attending courses and gaining the knowledge they need to successfully function and compete in the workplace. Most of these programs also offer the benefit of paying students so that they can finance their education too.

Close Ties to Home

Finally, while many students can’t wait to leave the “confines” of their home; others are less than enthusiastic about the idea. That’s why community college is perfect for those students who want to remain close to Mom and Dad, siblings or high school friends. It’s also ideal for those students who may want to be more independent than dorms allow, i.e. no roommate, no Resident Assistant and no sharing a bathroom.

Essentially, community college is a perfect fit for students who know what they want, crave flexibility and would prefer to stay near the community they grew up in. However, if that doesn’t sound like you, and you don’t know exactly what you want, a community college may still be your best bet. It doesn’t just offer freedom and flexibility to those who know what they want but to those that don’t either through a variety of major offerings, general courses and student life.

Don’t rule a community college out until you’ve explored it thoroughly as an option. It could be everything you need in a college experience.

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