Community College vs. Four Year University? It’s very hard to believe that there are so many options for students to get an education right now. Students have the options to physically go to class, take them online, receive certification training and the list goes on. I graduated high school in 2002 and around that time, it seems that I only had two options: community college or a four-year university. Personally, I was leaning towards a Prince Georges Community College in Largo, MD, but my traditional parents disagreed.
They were urging me to attend Towson University in Towson, MD. I really had to sit down and debate the pros and cons of both, before I could make a final decision. The biggest obstacle in deciding between the two was money. It is no surprise that university tuition is very expensive. My first year at Towson University would have cost about $16,000. 00, which doesn’t include books, meal costs or just general living expenses. Prince Georges Community College would cost about $4,000. 00 for my first year and I could live at home and still work. This was a significant difference to me.
This was a much smaller investment versus a four year college. My mentality was that this small investment at a community college, over the course of a lifetime, can increase my salary by up to $250,000 dollars. In contrast to 4 year colleges that require a large amount of general curriculum courses and classes, this particular community college offered both Associate degrees and occupational certificates in 2 years or less which is quick and affordable and saved on both time and money which brings me to my next obstacle in deciding between the two: a flexible schedule.
While most 4 year colleges required a large time commitment, community college didn’t. Community college offered a convenient flexible class scheduling allowing me to take classes that work with your agenda. This meant, I would still be able to work full-time, which is what I really wanted to do. There are also other learning opportunities that I felt I would achieve with a two year college that I may not have the opportunity to at a four year. In addition to in-class learning, two-year college students frequently take on apprenticeships and internships within their local community.
Beyond getting an insider’s look at their future job, interns and apprentices also gain valuable industry connections they can use to land a job upon graduation. I guess you could say I had my mind made up at this point. But before I could make my final decision, I really had to take a step back and think about what similarities a four year college had with a community college. Like all universities, Prince Georges Community College offered athletic teams, so if I wanted to participate in school athletics, I had the options, which I really like.
When I looked at the course listing for both schools, I noticed that a lot of the classes were the same or primarily taught the same thing. I had always thought community college courses would be easier than a universities course listing. After comparing both options and really weighing out what was most important to me, I decided to attend the Community College. I generally felt this was the best option for me and what I wanted to accomplish and I believe I made the right decision.