Community college to transfer or straight to university?Answered
Hello! As a rising senior, I am debating on what option is best for me. My first option is to go to a community college close to home for two years, then transfer. This saves me a significant amount of money, including tuition, housing, etc. Or, I could go straight away to a 4-year college or university and complete my education there.
Some points I'm debating are getting the real "college experience" and finding internships/jobs while at community college. Plus, my family drives me crazy sometimes and I'm not sure it would be good for my mental health to stay home. But if I leave home, I will be hundreds of miles away from everyone I know and will have to find some source of income or get a lot of aid. If I'm in any sort of trouble, it will take a while to reach someone. But I'll have a better chance of making connections, finding a job, etc.
What do you guys think is a better option?
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You don't have to go hundreds of miles away to get the full "college experience". If you find a college that is close by but where you don't have to stay with your family, then go there if you think it is a right fit for you. I think if you're worried about getting income and paying for both college and housing, find jobs but also find some people you can room with. You can split up the rent and you can still go to college. You can still get internships if you're at a college, so do what you think would be best. If you know that your mental health may be affected by staying with your family, then my best advice is to go to college. If your mental health is going to be affected, then trust me, it's not worth it being close to home because you're worried about the money. Money can be made, but your mental health is something that once it's ruined, it is really hard to get back up on your feet again.
This is, ultimately, a personal decision on what is best for you. But I can offer my opinion as someone in the same situation.
On the points you're debating:
I don't think you would miss out on any college experience by going as a transfer student because college is whatever you make of it. You might even have a better experience since you have already learned how to function on your own a bit!
Finding jobs and internships can be easy or hard no matter where you are in your journey. I know I'm super lucky to have a job and a good internship now, but it really does depend on how specific you are in what you want. If you're flexible, you will find something that suits your interests and strengths. The only difference I can think of is that you might have more time to spend on them in community college than in university.
Family can be super annoying sometimes, but they can also be your biggest supporters!(I know how cliché that sounds...) Setting up boundaries and enforcing them can go a long way towards easing family strain. Maybe, for example, you need a few hours alone every day for homework or self-care, you need to have some rough conversations, and enforce that rule.
For financing, working is obviously important, but check with the schools you apply to and see if they offer a work-study program. It can be super helpful in paying. Also look for outside scholarships and grants, they are so underrated! I highly recommend FastWeb as a search engine for those because it can help filter out things you aren't eligible for and suggest things you wouldn't have ordinarily thought to apply for.
My last suggestion is to look into CLEP exams. They let you test out of the classes you would be taking your first year of college. It's a huge money/time saver. I've taken seven this year, and am planning to take another eight over the summer. It's only $80 per exam, much much cheaper than the average college credit. Check out Modernstates.org for awesome study classes for both CLEP and AP. Speaking of, if you took AP classes, study and get a good score on the exam, combining the two can go a long way towards shortening the time you spend in school and cutting the costs.
Final thought, there is no right or wrong decision here. Whichever way you choose to go, you will get where you need to be.
Good luck, you got this!
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