Starting Small before Going Big May Be the Best Choice

Briana is a recent graduate from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga. She holds a bachelor’s in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and an associate’s in Journalism from De Anza College. She has a passion for finding her passion within the communications world, all the while accepting various internships across different industries. In her spare time, Briana enjoys writing, reading, traveling, attempting to workout, spending time with love ones and FOOD!
For the juniors and seniors in still in high school, you’ve probably heard people say that your choice of college is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. It is the first of many adult decisions that you will make and the pressure to choose correctly is on. You’ll have people hounding you asking about your life’s plan, what you will want to major in and so forth. They will tell you that “the world is at your feet” and encourage you to choose freely or push you into choosing a college they think is best for you based on its reputation.
Staring at all the college brochures can get overwhelming, but first things first. Take a deep breath in … now out … and namaste! Many of us have been there. As high school senior you are NOT supposed to have your entire life planned out. I repeat, you are NOT supposed to have your entire life planned out. That is what college is all about. That is where you learn who you are, what you want to do in life and who you want to be upon receiving that diploma.
Often times when having a discussion about college, the little guy is frequently left out ̶ community college. The focus is heavily placed on big universities and all the excitement it has to offer. For instance, the excitement and freedom of dorm life, campus involvement or Greek life. These are things typically not offered at community colleges, but the benefits are still worth the consideration.
So let’s consider them, because choosing the right college is a HUGE decision.
1. The Cost
Let me just stress that this is big! The cost of education these days is ridiculous. According to the Institute of Education Sciences, back in 2012 the average cost of a 4-year institution (which includes tuition, books and living expenses) was $23,066, and the cost has only gone up since then. Not to discourage you from attending your dream school, but financially speaking, attending a community college first will lessen the financial load you will have to carry once you graduate. The savings you will experience will be in the thousands. In 2012, 2-year colleges averaged $9,308. Think about it, during the first two years of college you will be taking mandatory non-major classes for a $13,000 spike by attending a university over community college. That is a lot of money for basic math, science and English classes, am I right?
2. More time to discover your major
If you talk to a current college student or recent college graduate, they will tell you that you most likely will change your major a couple times before you find the right fit. As mentioned before, the cost of classes is less expensive than a university, so while you are taking the non-major classes you can take time to explore classes that might interest you and become a potential career opportunity. That way when you transfer and start taking your major classes, you will have a better idea of the direction you want to go in; so that you can start planning your life.
3. Flexible scheduling
Unlike universities, community colleges offer more night classes. This allows students to work full and part time jobs while attending school.
4. Having an associate degree is better than none
Unfortunately, since the cost of education is so high many students at universities find themselves not returning after the first year. This leaves them in debt without anything to show for it. Completing coursework at a community college will grant you an associate degree, which is an accomplishment. Even if a student needs to take more time before transferring to a university, at least they will have a secondary education degree.

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