Community College

The benefits community colleges have to offer

A stack of textbooks. 
Photo Courtesy of PxHere via Creative Commons.

A stack of textbooks. Photo Courtesy of PxHere via Creative Commons.

Julieta Dentone, Author

College is intimidating, and the process for applying is tedious and stressful. Many factors go into choosing the college that is right–like tuition, location, majors, and grades–and it is difficult for the majority of students to figure it all out. Yet there are other options, not all students must go into a four-year college right after high school. One option that benefits everyone is a community college, as it helps out students and parents in many ways.

One major benefit community college has is the cost of tuition. According to the NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) website, “In-state tuition fees at NOVA are $5,498/year. University of Virginia’s Main Campus has tuition fees of $16,853/year.” The fees to attend classes in NOVA are less than half of those at UVA. This reduced tuition cost can help many families financially, especially since very few families can afford the cost of four-year institutions without needing to take out loans. Even with this more affordable tuition, NOVA offers financial aid, so the cost can go even lower, which benefits everyone.

Another benefit that community colleges have to offer is their location. In Virginia alone, there are 23 community colleges that are spread across 40 campuses. Junior Amaris Vargas plans on going to NOVA, and she explains,“It is more convenient for me and my family, due to NOVA being so close to home, so I will not have to move right away.” This is the same for a lot of families. Families may not want their students to travel far for college because of the cost, or because of the significant decrease in the amount of times the student and their families will be able to see each other (not only because family is an important factor for many cultures, but also because the cost of traveling back and forth on breaks may be too expensive for some, so students will not be able to go back home on their breaks).

Community colleges are also good for people who are not sure what they want to study yet. US News says, that it can help people who struggled in high school, “or anyone who’s unsure if they want to make the significant time and money investment in college.” If someone is unsure of what they want to major in, or if they want to go to college at all, community college is a great starting point that does not break the bank. Most colleges require students to take the same classes for the first year (sometimes into the sophomore year), such as math and languages, so if someone is not sure what major they want to study, going to a community college will allow the student to be taking those same classes, but for less. Most, if not all , community college credits are transferable, so once the student finishes community college and goes to the four-year college of their choice, they will not have to retake those classes, and can go straight into the classes that interest them.

Community college benefits everyone. Whether someone is going to community college because of cost, or location, or whatever the reason, it will help them. And it does not only help the student but also their family. If someone is unsure of what they want to do in their future, community college might be the right option.