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April is Community College Month! Here are 5 Benefits of Choosing a Community College for Higher Education

April is Community College Month, and it is also the month that most #collegebound students make their college decisions. So, it's the perfect opportunity to speak about the benefits of attending community colleges for high school seniors and young adults interested in furthering their education.


Before diving in, let's go over the basics. A community college is a college that serves a local community by providing trade-specific certificates and two-year degrees, also known as associate's degrees. Community colleges are sometimes known as junior colleges. 


Black Girl College Prep: Community College Month

While four-year universities tend to be more popular, community colleges play an important role in making education more accessible and affordable. They are also an excellent place to see if continuing education is a good fit for you with minimal risk.


On this #transitiontuesday, let's celebrate Community College Month by exploring five reasons why high school students should add a few to their college bucket list.



1. Cost: One of the major benefits of community colleges is their cost. Tuition at community colleges tends to be significantly lower than at four-year institutions, making higher education more accessible to students from every income bracket. You can literally increase your earning potential by obtaining an associate's degree or certificate at little cost. And for dual-enrollment high school students, this means earning college credits while in high school for free.


2. Flexible options: Community colleges provide a variety of flexible options to accommodate students' unique needs and schedules. Whether you're a high school student interested in dual enrollment classes, a recent graduate looking for an associate degree, a mom working full time, or a working adult looking for professional development, community colleges offer flexible class schedules, online courses, and part-time choices to fit your schedule. Students can finish anywhere from 6 months to 2 years at community colleges, depending on their chosen program.


3. Seamless Transition to Four-Year Universities: Many high school students use community colleges as a stepping stone to four-year institutions. Some students attend community colleges for a bit to knock out prerequisites and general education classes and to ease into college life at a slower pace. With this in mind, community colleges often have transfer agreements with four-year institutions, allowing students to smoothly transfer credits and further their education.


This approach can help students save money on tuition while making their transition to university life easier. However, most universities will only accept community college credits in-state or local. That said, you'll need to actively check this before attempting to transfer if you plan to use your local community college as a stepping stone. Ensure the university you're eyeing accepts your community college credits to avoid wasting money on non-transferrable courses.


4. Individual Support and Resources: Many community colleges prioritize students' success by offering individual support and resources. Community college classes are usually smaller and tend to feel more family-oriented. Community colleges offer a supportive atmosphere for students to grow academically and personally, with services ranging from academic advising and tutoring to career counseling and student groups. This may be ideal for students who require more attention and thrive in small, intimate settings.


5. Career and Technical Education Programs: Community colleges offer a variety of career and technical education programs that provide hands-on training and skill development. Students can prepare for in-demand careers in healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and more through these programs. Many colleges also partner with specific employers to guarantee immediate hiring of graduates and certificate holders. High school students may gain key career skills and certifications that will get them into well-paying jobs far faster than traditional four-year degrees, especially if they elect a certification over an associate degree.


For example, you can attend a tech school for a welding certification and finish in 6 months, land a job, and instantly start making just under 45k yearly.


There are vast offerings at community colleges to be discovered. Be sure to inquire if your local school supports job placement as well.



 

In conclusion, adding a couple of community colleges to your list (especially if you're into trades and the technical side of things) is a smart move. While planning out your postsecondary journey, community colleges shouldn't be overlooked. They are affordable, flexible, and cozy; many offer transfer opportunities, and most cultures are supportive and career-focused, making community colleges an excellent pathway to success for students seeking higher education, trades, or skill development.


If you find this helpful, please share it with someone who needs it!


Xo,

Coach Rahk

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