Advertiser disclosure

Top Reasons to Attend a Community College

Community college is better now than ever, and there are a plethora of reasons to attend. Benefits of community college (CC) include much more than more affordable tuition costs. If you’re not sure what you want to pursue yet, want more time to choose a four-year university, or simply want a more flexible schedule, community college will allow you to do all of the above!

Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

The main benefits of community college:

1. Save money

Perhaps one of the best (and most common) reasons to attend a community college is all the money you can save by starting there. Below is a breakdown of what the annual cost of tuition looks like at different institutions.  

In-state 4 year university (public)Out of state annual tuition Private university In-state community college tuition
Source: Average cost of community college and average cost of college & tuition 

Many states have even made community college free for full-time students who reside in the same state, making it an even better deal than it was before.

If money and financial aid play a big part in choosing a college, we highly recommend checking out your local community college. If you still want to attend a four-year university at some point, you can simply transfer out of community college after a year or two (and to your dream university).

2. Flexible schedule

If you struggled with the rigid schedule and long hours of high school or simply plan on working during college, community college provides you the flexibility to meet all your wants and needs. Compared to four-year universities, community colleges tend to offer far more night and online classes. Those options make it easier to fit other things into your schedule during the day.

3. Smaller classes

In comparison to many four-year universities (with the exception of small, private ones), community colleges tend to have smaller class sizes. This allows students to get more personalized attention and possibly form connections or mentorships with their professors. This can be a positive for those who like to learn at their own pace. Smaller classes allow more time to ask questions and get help when you need it.

4. Quality of professors

Unbeknownst to some, many highly qualified, experienced professors who spent years teaching at impressive four-year universities also teach community college courses. This is often in their later years of teaching, when they would prefer to work less hours, but still want to provide students with their knowledge and expertise.

5. School-life balance

School-life balance refers to the ability to successfully juggle your school responsibilities with those in your personal life. This can include taking care of parents, children, or a career. Community college provides such a balance as students can easily enroll part-time (often taking only one or two classes) at a low cost and will not feel out of place doing so.  In fact, a vast number of community college students attend part-time! This unique quality of community colleges can make it a great option for parents or older students interested in enrolling in a few classes.

6. On-campus living

Things like dorms and on campus living are a big part of the “college experience”. In more recent years though, the number of community colleges with dorms has grown quite a bit, which means you really may not need to compromise at all! 

Living on campus allows students to establish similar study habits, social lives, and extracurricular involvement to students at four-year universities. This feature found at some community colleges makes the transition to four-year colleges easier. Students will already be adjusted to living away from home and being more involved at their school.

7. Certificates and degrees

Just like four-year universities, community colleges also provide students with a variety of certificates and degrees. Associates Degrees are incredibly common to earn at community colleges. These degrees and certificates are awarded in a huge variety of fields. This includes biology, philosophy, and creative writing (and more!).

8. Transitional period

Instead of immediately going to a four-year university, attending community college can help students think more deeply about what they want from a university. Attending community college gives them the time to properly select a university that would be the best choice for them (all while earning college credit!). Community college students may even be able to transfer to Ivy league colleges

9. Transfer agreements

Last, but certainly not least, are transfer agreements! It is incredibly common for students to transfer out of community college into a four-year university after a year or two. Transfer agreements are there to help such students out. These agreements are contracts between community and public (four-year) colleges. The transfer agreement allows certain students to transfer their CC credits toward earning a bachelor’s degree.

If you’re looking to transfer out of a community college (or transfer from any university), we have some useful resources for you:

And we’re finished! We hope that this guide has been helpful and wish you the best in your studies!

Next Steps

Next Steps

  • Now that you are familiar with the advantages of community college, ask yourself what of those things matter to you, such as cost, living arrangements and the level of degree you are striving for
  • Explore the community colleges that might be nearby to you and whether they offer programs that you are interested in
  • Try to visit nearby community colleges if possible to get acquainted with the campuses
Next Steps

Frequently asked questions about top reasons to attend community college

Is community college easier than university?

Not necessarily. Whether or not a community college is easier than university depends on the CC and university being compared. The specific classes you’re enrolled in and how hard you work also impacts your perception of which is easier. For the most part, the content you learn will likely be similar no matter where you’re attending school.

Can I transfer from community college to a four-year university?

Yes! Many students can transfer relatively seamlessly into a four-year university after taking classes at a community college. Many community college credits can be applied towards the general education classes that most students take during their first few years of college. Our article on transferring from community college to a four-year university can help you through the process.

Keep in mind that this process will be easier at some universities than others. State schools and larger universities are generally more flexible with transfer credits, whereas smaller liberal arts schools might be less so.

What are the disadvantages of attending community college?

There are of course always going to be disadvantages to anything you do. However, disadvantages are really things that will be relative to you. Students who were hoping to attend an out of state school may feel like it is a disadvantage to have to stay so close to home, while others may not see that as an issue. Try to assess on your own what is important to you in your college experience and then examine if community college will be able to offer you those things.