Financial Aid is Available
What are your dreams for your life and your career? There are a number of great reasons why you should choose to go to Community College. And there are thousands of great community colleges across the country (including Florida, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee) with hundreds of majors and concentrations leading to both degrees and certificates. Higher education and technical training very often leads immediately to better jobs, better pay, and more career opportunities. Even having some college training separates your resume from those of job applicants who only have a high school diploma or a GED. So the course work alone could change your job prospects. If you want to earn college credits, or even your associates degree or a certificate, you can explore your future today by filling out your application, applying for financial aid (the FAFSA form), and going to community college. It could be your application to a better life, a better job, and a great career.
CHOICE OF MAJORS AND CONCENTRATIONS
What can you study at community college? You would be surprised at the range of choices for your future degree: everything from accounting, marketing, graphic design, business administration, financial services, general studies and humanities, history, music, philosophy, psychology, theater/dance, computer science, english literature, public relations, sociology, laboratory science, communications, environmental studies, health care, computer and business information systems, criminal justice, culinary arts, dental hygiene, early childhood education, elementary education, engineering technology, to political science, marine tech, fire science, health sciences, nursing, occupational therapy, office administration/executive administrative assistant, and more. Certificate programs are available in a wide variety of areas from biotechnology, fine arts, law enforcement, paralegal studies, to web design and countless others. What could you do with a certificate or an Associate in Arts (A.A.) or Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in one of these fast-growing fields?
WIDE SPECTRUM OF STUDENTS
Community colleges are very interesting because they have a mix of both traditional and non-traditional college students. What this means is that you can expect to see students from all walks of life in your classes - from those just out of high school, to single moms (single parents), to mid-career workers training for another field, and even some semi-retirees. This is a great advantage for your education because it adds to the experience of community college. You will learn a lot from your classmates! And this is great for somewhat older, or mid-career returning students in that they will be in an environment that is more diverse and they will not feel too isolated or exposed in their choice to return to college. You are never to old to get better or to learn something new! But even with varied students, there still is a great campus life at community college with department centers, cafeterias, halls, and libraries, where many of the commuting students congregate, work, and study.
HIGH QUALITY FACULTY AND INSTRUCTION
What some people don’t realize is the very high level of quality instruction at community colleges. This doesn’t mean that the classes are hard! It means that the teaching is very solid, and these community colleges have good faculty in many fields. Many of the professors, instructors, or adjuncts are professionals in their fields who have added some teaching to their schedules as a way of passing along their expertise and years in their field. This is an amazing benefit of these programs. This can lead to great job referrals, perhaps a powerful reference letter, some cooperative work opportunities, or other possible benefits.
Other faculty at community colleges are full-time educational professionals with the same training, background, and credentials as faculty at more expensive four-year private schools, and could easily be teaching at any college or university in the country. Your benefit here-- the same access to that level of expertise and training for a fraction of the cost of a private university. It’s also possible to take these classes during the day, late afternoon, evenings, and often weekend, or online. Off-hour courses, with superb faculty, are a great benefit of community colleges.
The cost of community college is very reasonable for both part-time and full-time students. The college courses can also be taken one at a time by paying for single-course tuition and fees. In addition to reasonable tuition for in-state and regional community college students, there are many opportunities for scholarships, financial aid, low-interest loans, and federal, state, and local grants that do not have to be repaid (free money!). You should fill out a FAFSA form, research scholarships online and at the college financial aid office, and seek out all possible forms of student aid. (The community college financial aid office will help you!) Look for any assistance for college that you can find. Cost is important in that you are making an investment in your future, but you want to be able to earn the money back in a reasonable amount of time.
LEAVE YOUR FUTURE OPTIONS OPEN
So imagine that you start community college just to add a few classes to your background, so you can update your resume and get a little better pay, or go up for a promotion at work. Then within no time you find that maybe you can even complete enough credits to earn a certificate or your associates degree. This is great!
But here’s an added benefit of state community colleges! Many two-year community college programs have in-state compacts, agreements, and transfer arrangements with four-year state colleges and universities. What this means is the best possible situation for your course work: it means that the courses will more easily apply towards a four-year program leading to your Bachelor’s degree. Even graduates with a liberal arts, humanities, or general studies associates degree might find that all of their program credits apply as general education credits towards many more bachelor’s degree choices than they could imagine.
You could find that the momentum from going back to school leads you all the way from an A.A. (Associate in Arts degree) through to a B.S. (Bachelor of Science), or B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degree in one of many hundreds of fields or majors. If you choose to do this, and then later transfer to -- and graduate from-- a four-year state college or university, you will have the same degree as your four year classmates with a much lower cost for your first two years of higher education! And you have the accomplishment of the community college program (and degree!) to propel you forward.
Why should you go to Community College? It can change your life, your career, and all of your future job prospects. With reasonable costs, financial aid, student loans and scholarships available, great faculty, and a wide array of degree and certificate concentrations -- it could be the best decision that you have made in a while?