Community college vs. four-year universities: which is the better option?

The hardest decision towards the end of a high school career: community college or a four-year university? Many students feel a lot of pressure to decide what fits their needs best.

Years ago, community colleges were looked down upon while four-year universities were seen as the only way to go.

Recently, many students have attended both a community college and a four-year university. They finish their general education their first two years at community then transfer into a four-year university to get their degree.

Community colleges are very affordable; they tend to have smaller class sizes and more flexibility for students' schedules. Senior Jennifer Diaz is looking into joining a community college.

“If four-year fails, or my family runs into money problems, I will definitely consider going into community college,” said Diaz.

Community college is a great option for someone who doesn't get accepted into their desired university. Transfering from a community college to a four-year university after getting an associates degree, or finishing the required general education courses is always a practical option.

In contrast, four-year universities tend to have a variety of more opportunities to socialize and gain new experiences than community colleges. They offer more clubs, on-campus living, and host bigger school related events. Graduate programs are also given as the next step to obtain a master's degree or even a PhD. Four-year universities are a good option for students who know what they want to major in.

Senior Luke Reece stated, “I want to go to a four-year because I plan on getting a bachelor's degree in political science and I want to go to a school that has a good social environment and that has a lot of students that I can interact with and have fun.” Reece doesn't know exactly where he is going to apply yet.

Mr. Cotner recommends either option depending on certain qualifications. “I recommend a university if you have the means, the ability and the money to get in to one. They are very challenging, but you get a rigorous education.” He also recommends community college for different reasons. “For community college, it might be for people who need a little more time to get better as a student. Community colleges are free; all you have to pay for is your books and it is a good way to get started.”

Many successful students go to a university, a community college, or a mix of both. The most important thing is that students’ paths suit them and their needs.

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