Why I Went to Community College Before University

I never imagined myself attending a community college.  It was never in the picture for me when I was planning out what I was going to do after high school.  For me, further education meant  attending my state’s University system, doing some research, and then going for my PhD.  A month before move in, turns out I wasn’t about to afford university like I thought I could.  If I wanted to stay on track, I turned to community college to assist my journey.  Within weeks of the fall semester starting, I was accepted and ready to go for that semester.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have changed anything.  Going to community college (CC) was one of the smartest decisions I made after high school. 

While the CC didn’t have my degree of choice, I was able to take the general education credits that I needed.  Thankfully this CC had a partnership with the university I wanted to attend.  This partnership aided in the transition from CC education to university education.  By this, there was an almost guaranteed credit transfer for classes taken at CC.  After my first year, I still had more credits I could get at CC that would be general education credits as well at university.  To get a better deal, I also become a resident assistant (RA).  My second year at CC all I had to pay for now was my classes which saved me an incredibly amount of money.  As you’d assume, CC is cheaper to attend than university.  The CC I attended had a cost of roughly $90 per credit hour for in-state tuition while in-state tuition cost per credit hour for university is $293.  Once I was able to transfer over to university, I had almost all of my general education credits done and out of the way.  By doing this, I was able to mainly focus on my major.  Also, with how many general education credits I took that interested me at CC, I ended up only needing six more credits to obtain my minor! 

One thing I wish I knew going from CC to university was the degree of difficulty of classes.  To be blunt, going to CC felt like I was taking high school classes all over again.  I didn’t understand why my teachers from back home harped on us about how hard college classes would be.  I was able to maintain a high GPA at CC which was amazing.  Transfering into CC though, was a whole different ball park.  Classes were more difficult than my old CC classes.  I learned the hard way that my previous studying habits would get me nowhere at university.  Before, I barely had to study but now...oh boy I study an insane amount now.  Not only this, but while your courses and grades transfer from CC, your GPA does not.  After my first fall semester at university, my GPA tanked hard.  While I wasn’t used to the speed and difficulty of university courses, that doesn’t excuse the poor grades I received at the end of the semester. 

If you gathered anything from reading this, here are three things I hope you take away.  The first being that attending community college is the more affordable option in most cases.  Now a day, cost is big factor if people go after higher education or not.  Not only this but skilled labor has big money once you graduate from a CC.  Second, your GPA doesn’t transfer from your CC to university!  If I could go back in time and tell myself this, I would engrain it into my brain.  Lastly, it is more than okay to attend a CC.  Don’t let stereotypes keep you from getting the same education for cheaper.  Your wallet will thank you for it!