First off, Congratulations! You either just graduated from High School and are ready to take the next step in your education, or you are heading back to school to enhance your education. Either way, you are probably looking at your different Junior College or Community College options . You may be trying to weigh the differences between attending a University or a Junior College for the first two years of your education as well.
For most, this is big decision that should not be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider before you make a formal decision on moving forward such as Financial costs, location, Career choices, Credit transfer opportunities, Specialties, and athletics.
Below we will walk through some of the items that should be considered when selecting the correct Junior College for you.
One of the many considerations for most is the cost of a college education. The difference most times in cost between a University and a Junior College can be significant. The costs can be decreased further if you stay in your local area to attend Junior or Community College. The in state rate for most residents is typically very affordable.
On option that most students consider is attending a Junior or Community College for the first two years and meet all the initial requirements prior to transferring to a four year institution. Economically this makes a lot of sense. In addition, many also reduce their expenses further by staying at home for these first two years to offset some of the living expenses related to the first two years of college.
Before taking this route, make sure to research the different options for transferring your credits from the Junior College or Community College of choice. Many times this is relatively straight forward unless you are attending a very specialized College.
Location , Location, Location
It is very common for most to consider those Junior Colleges in their immediate area. While the financial decision there is a no brainer, there are other factors to consider.
Take a good long look at where you want to be in 5 years. What industry and career are you leaning towards? What is your passion?
Often times the Junior College search does not include Junior Colleges outside the student home state. That could be a mistake. You need to consider what industry your are pursuing and seek out those Colleges in those regions. These regions may have internship opportunities, or other entry level positions that can assist in getting to where you want to be. Yes, the cost is often more for out of state residents, but if it accelerates your career forward even better.
Before you finalize on a Junior College, make sure you are getting the best education possible for your area of interest. Many Junior Colleges have strong programs that get you started on the right foot while gaining credits towards your BA degree.
You can find Junior Colleges that have strong Computer Science and Nursing programs. Many of these are highly regarded and can assist in getting your foot in the door at a four year institution. Make sure to ask the College Counselors specifically about your area of interest and your Career goals. If they are honest they may direct you to a more suitable Junior or Community College that fits you.
Are you an athlete looking to compete at the collegiate level? If so, many have had success at starting their collegiate athletic career in a Junior College and transferring to a University. Often times the University athletic programs are superior in quality and depth.
Why not start at the Junior College level and work your way up. Often, University coaches will recruit from local Community and Junior Colleges. This is a great way to stay competitive and work your way up. Many Junior Colleges also provide athletic scholarships for Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball etc. . Don’t overlook these opportunities if you want to continue competing in College.
Matt D Murren owns and operates http://www.junior-college-advisor.com Junior Colleges