Choose colleges over universities

The right place to pursue your post-secondary education is likely your local community college


Elaisa Acosta Meneses

Graphic by Elaisa Acosta, Times Staff

Students will benefit from attending a community college after high school instead of going directly to a university.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right place to pursue your post-secondary education. Consider your finances, colleges’ availability in your area, and even if the major you want to pursue is impacted.

Universities’ quality of education is not necessarily better than a two-year college education. The quality of education at a community college is very competitive.

You will leave well-prepared to embark on upper education, especially when many professors at community colleges also teach at four-year universities.

Saving money by going to a community college if you are a first-time college student is one of the most significant advantages.

At SJCC, first-time, full-time California college students pay no tuition or fees. You also get free loaner laptops, free loaner eTextbooks, free tutoring, many financial aids and scholarship opportunities.

But even if you are an out-of-state student, or a returning student, you can still benefit from community colleges because tuition fees are way cheaper than a four-year university.

At SJCC, you will have ample opportunity to join excellent programs, such as the Extended Opportunity Program & Services, which mainly guide students to academic success.

If you choose a California community college associate degree for transfer, you get guaranteed transfers to California State University and University of California campuses. The majority of courses at community colleges are CSU/UC transferable.

An ADT is a suitable pathway that will help you complete your bachelor’s degree within two years after transferring. But remember to be extra vigilant and follow up your educational plan with your advisers often to make sure to select credits that will transfer over.

Be aware of some disadvantages, like the stigma and misconceptions around a two-year college education.

Some people think that community college students did not meet the scores required by four-year universities. But according to the article “10 Reasons to Attend a Community College,” published by the U.S. News website, students are choosing a two-year education because of the flexibility and affordability it offers.

Others believe that community college is for those looking for vocational education and training. Still, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported that 46% of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2013–2014 were transfer students from two-year college.

When it comes to deciding whether to attend a four-year university or a community college, the latter have many more advantages. You get a bit more time to explore and decide on your major.

A two-year degree can open doors for you and help you secure an entry-level job because you get something in hand to show for your qualifications.