Community College vs. University

There are a lot of reasons why I chose community college over a four-year university. People always say to me, “well, you’re not getting the full college experience.” You’re right, I’m not. But for me, community college was the best decision I could have made for my plans after high school.

Loads of my friends were applying to University of Wisconsin System schools, some were applying out-of-state, and I wasn’t phased by college apps season at all. In fact, I didn’t apply to college until two weeks after I graduated high school. I got an email saying I had been accepted a week later. I didn’t scream, I didn’t freak out, I didn’t call all my relatives to tell them I was going to college. In fact, the only people I told were my parents and my brother, who was going to the same community college a grade ahead of me. Do I regret choosing community college over a university? Absolutely not. 

People will always say “you’re not getting the full college experience.” No, I’m not. But guess what? I couldn’t care less. My first semester of college, which I’m wrapping up within the next two weeks, cost $1,335. A SEMESTER OF COLLEGE COST ME $1,335. In this day and age, that’s damn near impossible.

I live at home in the same house I grew up in. I don’t pay Room and Board, and my meal plan is called “Mom.” I take the bus to and from school every day, and my college supplied a semester bus card for me. If I went to the four-year University less than a mile from my community college campus, I’d be paying $28,000 a year. Community college is making my life so much easier.

My classes don’t look like a classic college lecture hall from the movies, where there are 200 people sprawled around a room with a teacher in the front. My classes have anywhere from six to 32 people in them. I like this because, if you need help in a class, it’s a lot easier to talk to your professor after class when you’re not racing 200 other students to do the same.

I don’t have 10,000 new friends. I admit, it’s hard to make friends at a school that has five campuses spread across town. My best friend from college is a girl I met three weeks before my high school graduation on a field trip for our high school science department. That’s not to say I haven’t made friends in college with people I didn’t know in high school, I have. With a smaller school, though, it’s easier to gravitate towards people you’ve known for a while.

I don’t live in a dorm, and that’s fine with me. I can’t bring my dogs into a dorm. I wouldn’t be seeing my two brothers daily if I lived in a dorm. I wouldn’t see my parents if I lived in a dorm. In all honesty, I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to move out right after high school. Community college let me have the option of staying home. Sure, it’s not the “full college experience”, but hey, it worked for me, and that’s all I cared about.

People for some reason seem to think that community college classes are easier than classes you would take at a four-year university. Not true. In fact, the classes I’m taking now are the exact same classes you could take at a four-year university, the only difference is that my classes are about $2,000 cheaper.

Would I recommend community college to my friends who are considering other options after high school? Absolutely. 

Community college is cheaper, more intimate, and frankly, in my opinion, more enjoyable than a massive lecture hall and gigantic campus would be. Let it be known I will be transferring out of my community college after two years, the basic requirement for Liberal Arts Transfer students, but for now, community college is perfect for me.



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