Welcome back! I know you all have been waiting all week for this and are eager to hear more about your new found resolution so, let’s get to it!
Now that I have almost convinced you to start or go back to school, let’s talk about the differences between Universities and Community College. If you already know, you can skim past this part but I highly suggest that you don’t skim too fast because you might miss some good juicy details. For the purpose of saving my typing fingers from falling off, I am going to refer to a University as UNI and a Community College as a CC. I currently work for a local CC in San Diego and I get ask a lot of times if I ever attended said CC. The answer is no, I never attended said CC or any CC for that matter. After high school, I wanted to leave my small hometown as soon as possible and experience the world! The world of a 4-year UNI, that is. Although I never attended a CC, I have been working for one for almost 4 years now and the reality is, what I learned during my first 2 years at the UNI level was pretty much what you would learn at a CC but at a prettier penny.
So, what is the difference? There are MANY but I’ll give you the brief version of the differences between the two and you can make your best judgement. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, CC’s had a bad stereotype around my high school but now looking back, I question why? CC’s have a lot to offer our students and community. They provide students with 2-year Associate Degrees and/or Certificate programs in a plethora of subjects. They provide degrees and certificates for those white-collar jobs likes plumbing, H-VAC, electrician, paramedic, law enforcement, firefighting, etc.. They provide general education to those who do not know what they want to study yet BUT still want to get started. Regardless of the degree program (whether it is business or nursing or any other degree) general education is required and a lot of students start at a CC to complete those requirements to eventually complete their associate degree or to transfer those credits to a 4-year UNI to complete their bachelor’s degree. Attending a CC is typically cheaper and more affordable (YAY!) than starting off right at the UNI level. For California, the state tuition rate at CC’s is $46.00 per unit meaning, a 3-unit History class for general education would be $138.00. At a UNI that could be 3X more the price for ONE single lower-division course. There are also a lot of state and federal funded aid programs and scholarships that can help fund your college courses. CC’s is also known for its flexible schedules and accelerated courses to help you get through some of those “not so interesting” courses you may be dreading…*cough* math. A CC is also really great for those who are not really ready to hop right into a degree program but who like to explore their options before diving deep into their education. In my opinion, CC’s are awesome and they are very much overlooked and that might be because the idea of the “college lifestyle” that lives at those big 4-year UNI’s.
Why a UNI? Simple answer, to get your bachelor degree. In my personal opinion, attending a UNI was one of the best experiences of my life. I was embedded into the college atmosphere and loved every single moment of it. But everyone’s goal, road map, and accessibility to education is different and my experience may be different than a million others in the world. The key to this is THAT IT IS OK. I get a number of students who come in and they look defeated that they are “just now” coming into my office to get started with school and that they “wish they went straight to a UNI after high school”. IT IS OK to have a different road map that leads to your educational goal but the important thing is that you are here and getting started. Depending on where you are in life, maybe starting right at a UNI is a good idea, if you are ready for that commitment. While attending a 4-year UNI you might find that it is more expensive, the lower-division classes might be a little harder, the transition from your currently lifestyle into a full-speed UNI program might be a hard adjustment but you might also find that there are ways to help pay for school through financial aid and scholarships, that you love a good challenge, and that multitasking isn’t that hard for you. The ultimate goal of attending a 4-year UNI is to obtain your bachelor degree which in return, like I discussed before, could boost your knowledge and experience to get you that well-paying job you deserve. Whatever the case may be, let me give you a little food for thought…
Although I LOVED everything about attending a 4-year UNI, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter how I obtained my degree, just that I had my bachelor degree. With that being said, I think if I could go back and do it again, I would start at a CC and then transfer to a 4-year UNI to finish my bachelor degree. By the end of it, I could have had a 2-year associate degree AND my 4-year bachelor degree. Your first 2 years at the UNI level is basically what you would do at the CC, but at a better price with flexible scheduling for all those working and family people out there. For the most part, all CC’s are accredited colleges and are easily transferrable to your dream UNI. A common misconception of CC’s is that they are a waste of time and they are not transferrable to the UNI level. This is in fact, is wrong. As long as your CC and UNI have matching accreditations or they are both public schools, your credits should transfer. It is not a waste of time and it will save you a lot of money!
Look at it now, your name on a pretty piece of paper that says, “Bachelor of Science in Business Science – University of California, San Diego”. It won’t say underneath it “attended CC to obtain this degree”. Whatever way you go about it, you still get that degree and career you earned. YOU DO YOU!
So I convinced you, didn’t I? Find out next week how to get started with you education!