Sometimes continuing your higher education at a traditional four-year institution is not your cup of tea. This may be because you are unsure of what you want to study or you are looking to stay local. 

There is a negative stigma towards community college that it is not “real” college, that it is not good, that you won’t be challenged educationally, or that you won’t be able to advance from there. This is not true. Additionally, high schoolers may be more inclined to live the 4-year college experience and feel as if they won’t get that from a community college. 

We had a chance to speak with students who went to a community college and they shared the following benefits of starting your education at a community college. Ultimately, community college can be a stepping stone into your higher education journey. 

Benefit 1: You Save Money on Tuition

Many students save significant money on tuition by studying for two years at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution. As the national student loan debt has now reached $1.71 trillion, the rising cost of tuition can lead to having to take out significant student loans. In contrast, community colleges in California have the least expensive tuition and fees in the nation. Keep in mind that tuition is not the full cost of going to college, and other things such as books, transportation, housing, food, health care, and other expenses will impact how much money you will have to pay. If you have a solid plan and support to afford non-tuition expenses, community college can be an affordable option. 

  • California Promise Grant: Additionally there are state programs, such as the California College Promise Grant, that waive enrollment fees and can guarantee paid tuition for your first year of community college. 

Benefit 2: Smaller Class Sizes

Besides financial aid, attending a community college has educational perks such as smaller class size, academic flexibility, and school-life balance. 

  • Smaller class sizes: Many community colleges offer smaller class sizes than larger schools, meaning that students can find more personal attention and one-on-one time with their instructors. 
    • This is beneficial for students who like to learn at their own pace and like to ask multiple questions. 

Benefit 3: Academic Flexibility 

If you are a student who struggled academically in high school or are unsure of whether you want to invest your time and money in college, attending a community college is a good introduction to higher education. 

  • Academic Flexibility: This is because if you are interested in taking one or two classes per semester, you will not feel out of place as most community college students attend school part-time. 

Benefit 4: School-life Balance 

Attending a community college allows you the opportunity to stay close with family and friends. If you are not ready to move away from your hometown, this is a great opportunity for you to receive a great education while also balancing your family and friends. 

Community college is a perfect choice and a great way to begin your higher education journey! Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. There is a stigma attached to attending community college, but community college is college.