Several students have asked me whether they should seriously consider attending a community college, and not just use 2-year colleges as “safety” schools.

For many seniors, the answer is “yes.” Who should take a close look at community colleges? It’s a long list, and includes good students, mediocre students, students who are uncertain about their interests and unclear about a major, students who can’t afford 4 years of private college expense, students who want to explore an area of interest before committing to it, and those who want a quality education at an affordable cost.

 

Some of the advantages of attending community college are: the opportunity to improve your transcript; lower cost combined with financial aid availability; associate degree STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs whose graduates are in demand in the job market; transfer agreements that permit qualified graduating students entry into 4-year colleges with junior status and other benefits such as tuition discounts.

 

The takeaway? Take some time to explore the possibility that community colleges might provide you with options you hadn’t considered. Read their catalogs to see if they have degree or certificate programs that would benefit you. And, while you’re in high school, look for community college courses that you might be able to take during the summer or on winter break.