High costs at universities limit student opportunities

A common question from teens when they are getting ready to go into college is “Is a 4-year worth the money?” and it’s a genuinely good question. In the long run, it depends on what experience you want. Financially, it may not be the best option, but for experiences such as sports and social life, it could definitely be more appealing.

Community college has been looked down upon because of the common misconception that students only go there if they couldn’t get into a 4-year, but that’s not always the case. Community college is for students who don’t want to leave home, can’t afford college, or want to transfer to a UC after their two years. No matter the reasoning, it is a great way to start your college experience. Two years of community college saves a significant amount of money, especially since the first two years of college focus on general education. 

The difference between the cost of in-state and out-of-state tuition can be around 4 times as expensive, not including all other fees like textbooks, campus living, and extracurriculars. Now the money might be worth it to you, but what are you actually learning? The first two years of college covers similar subject areas as highschool, including history, math, english, arts, and science on a college level, regardless if you go to community or a 4-year. In your final two years, you take your upper division courses where you focus on your major and what you want to do in life. 

When you go to community college, you don’t have to stress about your major or what you want the rest of your life to look like. You get the opportunity to try everything before you commit to a college that will cost you a fortune. One of the best benefits of going to a community college is the ability to transfer to most UC’s. There are some UC’s that won’t take automatic transfers, and still require you to apply, but your chances of getting accepted skyrocket. 

People assume that if they didn’t get into the 4-year they wanted to it’s because they weren’t good enough to get in, but most of the time it is simply because there were no more spots available. If you have your eyes set on the college of your dreams, but couldn’t get in the first time around, community might be the route you want to take. One major benefit in my opinion is that no matter if you go to a 2-year first and then transfer or straight into a 4-year, whichever college you graduate from is what your diploma will say on it. There is no trace of community college on your transcript. 

Community college shouldn’t be frowned upon, as it is one of the best options for students struggling with deciding their major or struggling financially. In the end, the money is up to you, whether it is worth it or not, but taking into consideration the opportunities available to you when going to a 2-year is incredibly valuable moving forward in your senior year.