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Community College before 4-Year College

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Sunday, August 14th, 2016 in Q&As

Should I go to a community college before I go to a 4-year college? Looks cheaper.

Answer: yes, but be careful.

Assuming money is a big factor in your ability to go to college, community colleges are a great way to shave down costs. With that said, be cautious of the following:

  • Transfer credit policies. Some 4-year schools do not take all credits from community colleges – be careful to follow the rules to the rules.  For example, California schools have specialized transfer policies, be sure to read and understand them.  In any event and in any location, be prepared to justify why the classes you took are similar to those at the 4-year school.
  • Grades.  Community colleges are sometimes easier than 4-year schools, but that doesn’t mean you should slack.  If anything, take a lot of credits and make yourself miserable in community college – the more credits you bring to the 4-year school, the fewer you have to complete there.
  • Lifestyle.  Chances are, if you’re attending a community college, you’re planning to live at home and/or have a part-time job.  Both of these things can be frustrating and – in the case of the part time job – impede your ability to be a real student.  If you can, find a job (like freelance programming) that pays reasonably well but which has flexible hours.
  • Socialization.  You’re going to be a “new kid” twice – once in community college, and then again in a 4-year college.  Be prepared to work hard to meet people – by sophomore year, many people are already well within cliques.

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