Is Community College the Right Fit?

January is drawing to a close and some high school seniors are asking themselves whether a community college might be the right fit for them. If this sounds like you, CAA has put together this blog to explain a few reasons why community college might be your best step towards earning a bachelor’s degree.     First, a student who has below a C average in high school might want to consider community college. Low grades could result in being denied at four-year colleges or, if you are accepted, a lack of merit aid. After you have spent two years at a community college, four-year colleges and universities will only be interested in your college transcript. If you focused during those two years, then you might be able to apply as a transfer student with a higher GPA than you had in high school.     Here’s another scenario: Let’s say you are a high school senior, and you just started applying to schools in January, but you haven’t taken the SAT or ACT. In this case, you could quickly sign up for the next test date and continue applying to schools that are still accepting applications. However, those scores may not become available before the application deadline. Fortunately for you, many community colleges do not require SAT or ACT scores for admissions, and once you are ready to transfer, just like with your high school GPA, test scores are typically not required.     Another, less-obvious reason for starting at a community college is that not every high school student is ready for the academic rigor and independence of a four-year university. Most community college students commute from home, so as they gain the academic confidence and maturity required of college life, they are living with the support of their family. By still living at home, students can begin to create good study habits and develop strategies to balance their social and academic life.     Finally, tuition for community college is usually cheaper than public, in-state four-year schools. While most community colleges do not offer a lot of merit-aid (if any), the lower price makes it easier for many students to pay out-of-pocket. It’s likely that students will not have to take out as much in loans for community college as they would for a four-year school.     Think of community college as the bridge between high school and a four-year college or university. It’s not your end goal, but rather a path leading you toward it. Several studies have shown that community college students often do not go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. So, CAA suggests that if community college feels like the best direction to reach your ultimate college goals, be sure to have a clear plan in place to complete your bachelor’s degree.     If you do choose community college as your starting point, you should also be considering the four-year school you want to transfer into later. It is extremely important, as well, to connect with your community college advisor to stay on track to transfer into the college of your choice. Having a plan is the first step to graduating with a bachelor’s degree within four years of finishing high school!     CAA suggests that you still apply to four-year schools while you can, but if you feel that you need a bridge to be more successful at the four-year school of your choice, community college might be the right fit.

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