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Make the Most of Your Time at Community College

By Valeria Tirado

February 1, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I know a ton of people who decided to spend their first two years of college at a community college and then transferred to a four-year school to finish their degree. It seems to be a popular trend these days and with good reason.

One of the biggest reasons is that community college tends to be a lot cheaper than a four-year school. Two years spent at a community college can save you a lot of money! Now, just because community college is temporary and you won’t be getting your Bachelor’s degree there doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time to take advantage of what they can offer.

Knock out your basic courses

Most four-year colleges have about two years’ worth of general requirement classes that they make all students, regardless of their major, take. Most four-year colleges will also transfer credits from other colleges for these basic courses. Yes, that includes community college.

If you know what you want to major in, check out the classes your desired school will make you take for that major. If you find that almost half of them are basic courses, you may want to think about doing those at a community college first and then transferring over.

Make sure to take all factors into consideration. If you’re on a budget, and perhaps unsure of what you want to major in, then definitely consider doing community college first because not only will it save you money, but it will also give you some time to think about what you want to get a degree in.

Get involved

Community colleges aren’t so different from four-year colleges when it comes to extracurriculars. They have clubs, honor societies, special events, career services, and so much more; just like four-year colleges! If you do go to community college, make sure to take advantage of these organizations.

Any clubs/honor societies that you join will make your time there more enjoyable, and they may even offer those same ones at the four-year college you’ll be transferring to later on. Career services can not only help you get a job, but also help you decide what school to transfer to and even with what you may want to do later on after you get your Bachelor’s.

Time spent at any type of college is not a waste of your time because it all contributes to your education and life experience.

Network/Make friends

Making friends is a pretty obvious one because friends always make school more enjoyable. Don’t think that just because you’re out of there in two years you shouldn’t make friends. They say that you meet your best friends for life in college, and that doesn’t exclude community college.

Most people you meet will probably have the same goal of transferring to a four-year college later on. That’s something you can bond over and support each other through. Trust me, you don’t want to go through college alone!

Networking is also a great idea, especially with professors. I’ve known many professors that not only teach at a four-year college, but teach at a community college as well. Some may only teach part-time at a community college and have very interesting careers outside of there. These professors are usually more than willing to help you when it comes to talking about college or career advice. You never know until you ask!

I have met a surprisingly large amount of people who don’t think going to community college is a good idea because it’s not “as good” as a four-year college. To be honest, especially when it comes to the basic courses, community college offers about the same kind of education you’ll get at your average, much more expensive, four-year college. Plus, community college offers a lot of the things that a four-year college does.

It’s not for everybody but it’s definitely something to think about. Just don’t think that you shouldn’t get involved in anything just because you’ll only be there temporarily. In fact, you should make the most of the little time you have there because I guarantee you’ll miss it when it’s over!

Valeria Tirado is a senior at Rutgers University – New Brunswick with a major in Environmental and Business Economics. After graduation, she is interested in working with a non-profit organization like the World Wildlife Fund and eventually wants to go to grad school for Economics. Among the schools she is considering are NYU and Vanderbilt. Valeria can be found on Twitter at @valeriat94.

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