Advantages & Disadvantage of Studying at a Community College

by Avery Martin

Community colleges provide a way for you to receive college credit, learn new skills or complete requirements for professional development programs required of your work. Many successful people attended community colleges including actor Tom Hanks, space shuttle commander Robert Gibson and poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Whether community college is right for you depends on your needs and goals.

Financial Considerations

Community colleges often cost significantly less than a state college or private university. The federal government may provide you with loans or grants that completely cover the expense of a community college education. In contrast, universities may require more of a financial commitment from students. However, scholarships are also often more numerous with regular colleges and universities. Depending on your experiences and eligibility, attending a community college may not always be the more economical choice.

Educational Quality

Courses taken at a community college may offer more personal interaction. Students cite that in a college or university, you often don't get to take a course from a qualified professor. However, the course outline is often created by the professor. Larger colleges often have graduate students with less experience to lead courses. Community colleges don't use graduate students to teach courses. This may result in more personal attention, and you may learn more in a community college setting.

Course Availability

You may find fewer options available for taking advanced courses in a community college setting. The courses offered at a community college are often geared toward students that need to complete an associate's degree or take adult education courses. Community colleges are often a good choice to meet work requirements, to obtain teacher licensure or to show proof of continued education. Additionally, most community colleges offer night courses and more flexibility so that you don't have to miss work or rearrange your schedule to attend classes.

Degree Prospects

Community colleges usually offer a limited number of degrees, if any. Some community colleges don't provide options for receiving a bachelor's degree and function only to help you complete core classes required of the local university. Additionally, advanced courses may not be offered, and you may find that after a year or two of taking courses you have to split your time between the community college and a local university to meet the requirements to obtain a degree.

About the Author

Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.

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