As you approach your next step, you’ll soon discover that there are many ways you can approach your college search. You can attend a private college, a public college, a co-ed college, an affiliated college, a community college…the list goes on. But what kind of school is right for you? It doesn’t often have to do with the type of college at all. Many more important factors come into play more than just being an Ivy League or a state school.
While in high school, I didn’t really have a clue about my college decision. I originally had a desire to attend a four-year university, but when I was informed about a community college option during my senior year, my plans took a turn in a whole different direction.
In my previous blog, I mentioned that I attended Monroe Community College for my first two years. I would like to give you some reasons to consider when researching community colleges in your area. These are key reasons that guided me in my decision, and hopefully it can help you with yours — whether you attend a community college, a private college or anything in between.
A community college was much more affordable than spending my first two years at a private college and it helped me save money in the long run. Make sure you keep your financial situation in mind when looking for a college — and also consider the scholarships and aid you could receive. Sometimes a private school with many scholarships is more affordable than a state college with no scholarships!
At my community college, I had an opportunity to fulfill my general education requirements and take courses that gave me an in-depth understanding of my major. But keep in mind: make sure your school has a solid policy for transferring credits to a four-year institution otherwise you’ll risk losing all those general credits you worked so hard for!
Having professors that took the time to get to know me and help me with my studies was an important factor in my decision. At MCC, I was able to learn from knowledgeable teachers who helped me learn to the best of my abilities. Check out the student-faculty ratio at the schools you’re researching — is it small enough that you’ll get the attention you deserve? Or are you okay with relying more on yourself at schools with a higher ratio?
At my college, I learned how to interact with different students and create friendships with students who had like-minded goals. Student population is important when choosing a college because you want to be surrounded by people who will help you become your best self. Consider affiliated colleges like religious colleges or gender-specific schools if it will help you attain your focus and make lasting friendships along the way.
MCC was a great stepping stone into the world beyond high school. I learned how to balance a heavy workload and maintain grades that enabled me to transfer to a four-year school. For you, you might be ready to jump into the four-year college experience right away — and that’s great! Just make sure you consider other factors like extracurriculars, clubs, activities and other aspects of college life. You don’t want to be somewhere that will overwhelm you any more than you want to be somewhere that bores you!
Remember, college is what you make it. Two-year colleges offer opportunities that are far and wide, but that may or may not be the best option for you. You may have the same reasons when it comes to researching colleges as I did when I was in high school.
For me, my MCC experience has brought me to where I am today. I learned how to become a college student and meet other new students. You can too! First, you must weigh all your options and create your own list of reasons why you should attend a college. You will be surprised at how far you will go in your college career. It just takes a step in the right direction.
Valerie first attended Monroe Community College and later transferred to Roberts Wesleyan College as a communication major with a concentration in business. Her ultimate career goal is to become a news anchor. Valerie is originally from Rochester, New York and her hobbies include writing and hiking.