Is a Community College the Best Place to Start?

Community College

Comparing community institutions to traditional 4-year universities has both benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few things to consider while selecting the best option.

Entry requirements

Admission standards are critical distinctions between community colleges and 4-year institutions. Commonly, community colleges offer open enrollment, allowing anybody to enroll. This is quite advantageous if the grades on your high school transcripts don’t meet the standards demanded by four-year universities. In addition, community college can serve as a springboard for four-year institutions. You can set yourself on a route to transfer to your preferred 4-year institution once you learn the transfer requirements (how many college credits are required, transfer GPA, etc.).

Education costs

The lower cost of attendance at community colleges is a further benefit. Tuition at community colleges can be at least 50% less expensive than that at 4-year universities for the same number of hours taken. The community college route is undoubtedly one to explore if paying for college is a significant problem. (Note: In-district community colleges in Colorado Springs will have lower tuition than those located outside the city or the state.) If you choose to live on campus during your four years of college, the price of housing and board must also be considered.

Class timetables

Community colleges frequently provide flexible class schedules, including early-morning, evening, and weekend classes, because many students work during the day. This is advantageous if you have a full-time job.


Community colleges can be advantageous if you just graduated from high school because there are fewer outside distractions. However, fewer options for partying and other activities might frequently distract you and produce lower marks during your first year because community colleges typically do not provide on-campus accommodation.


Additionally, community colleges allow you to assess your interest in attending college at a far lower cost than a four-year institution. Enroll in a few classes at a community college to get a sense of it if you’re unsure whether going to college is the correct choice. How much learning is required? Are you prepared to put in the time and effort needed for successful study? The general norm is 2-3 hours of independent study per credit hour, which translates to 6–9 hours of independent study for a typical 3-hour course. Can you stay seated in a classroom for a long time? Etc

Social Engagements

A 4-year school might be a better choice for you if you are a people person who enjoys participating in many school events. While community colleges frequently host various academic events, programs, and celebrations, they often lack official sports teams and the breadth of offerings of 4-year institutions.

Education Quality

The quality of the education you’ll get at a community college is another thing to consider. While some community colleges have middle-of-the-road standards, others have very high ones, and many have shallow ones. Standards at 4-year institutions are often higher than those at community colleges. Asking someone who has taken courses is one approach to learning about a community college’s caliber. 

Did they believe that education was of a high or low quality? 

Do they think the education they obtained while attending community college effectively prepared them for the transfer if they transferred to a 4-year institution? Asking an advisor at the 4-year institution you intend to transfer to is an additional option. Their opinions of the community college? This is an excellent option if the transfer university is in the same or a nearby city. They may occasionally be able to give you insight into the caliber of the institution. They might even offer alternatives to think about. If you just graduated from high school, you might also inquire with your guidance counselor to see if they can provide advice or recommendations.

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