Options after Associate’s
Often, students who graduate from a community college will continue their education to receive a Bachelor of Arts or Science at a 4-year institution that accepts credits from their first two years of study. Although community colleges try to make the logistics of transferring simple – like establishing guaranteed admissions programs to the state university and setting up programs that allow credits to easily transfer – collegiettes will have to readjust to a new environment, just as they did their first year of college.
“Jumping from a smaller, slower-paced community school to a 4-year university has forced me to go beyond my comfort zone by becoming involved in on-campus activities,” says Lindsay Shoemake, a junior at Georgia College & State University. “It was a little difficult acclimating to a larger campus after being at such a small, familiar school. I now strive to be the best at all that I do each and every day.”
Lindsay, who transferred to a 4-year university as a sophomore, says that she began her higher education at a community college in order to save money and maintain a high GPA while working at her job. Although she sometimes regrets her decision to go to community college first, the amount of money she saved by attending for a year makes it worthwhile, she says.
“I definitely had to deal with a little ridicule and confused looks when I told my friends I would be living at home and commuting to a community school,” Shoemake says. “I dealt with the reactions accordingly, usually brushing them off and reminding myself that the money they would be spending during their freshman year away would be money in my pocket.”
While choosing where to go to college is always difficult, junior Dana Isernio says it’s important to make the decision for yourself, without factoring in how others perceive the institution.
“At first I thought I was going to regret it, as far as the social experience and meeting great friends,” Dana says. “But, if you dive right in, you can catch up and it doesn’t feel like I have missed a thing. Education-wise, the community college got me prepared for the great classes here. So, I have no regrets!”
About half of students who graduate from community colleges, though, will directly enter the job market. By receiving an associate’s degree beforehand, these young adults will be more competitive job candidates next to peers who bypassed their higher education entirely.
“I think it is very important for young women, and all students, in today’s world to understand the importance of a college education,” Devlin says. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, but a college credential of any kind can open so many doors.”
Is community college right for you?
- If you aren’t ready to make the transition to a 4-year institution, sticking with community college will ease the transition. Who knows? You may be ready to move away from home after you get your associate’s degree!
- Talk to your high school’s guidance counselors about the programs your local community colleges offer. The opportunities they offer may work better with your goals than other institutions.
- Email the admissions office at your local community colleges and set up an informational interview. The more information you have, the better decision you’ll make!