Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Pros & Cons of Community College

Welcome everyone to my blog and happy Wednesday. I am so excited for this post because it is one I have been pondering and thinking of writing for the last two years while I have attended a community college.
Background on Me / What School I Went To

I first want to share my story/ background so you know where I am coming from and what college specifically I am referring to.

I had a less than pleasant high school experience, and even though I wanted to be a teacher my whole life, come high school graduation I didn't know if I even wanted to go to college. I was so burnt out by that point and had no clue what my future held. My parents asked that I give my all for one semester of college. We decided we would sit down after one semester and see where I was at. Fast forward two years and I just completed my A.A degree for free and am headed to The University of Central Florida to complete my bachelors in Special Education. 

The school I went to for my first two years of college was Seminole State College. This is technically not a "community college" since they do offer a select amount of four year degrees but it is very similar.

One last disclaimer: I do have to mention also that I attended all of my classes on one of their smaller campuses that was close to me. I will touch only on my experience and can't speak for everyone who attended there or went to one of the other campuses. 

Let's get into this.


1. A smooth transition from high school: The number of students dropping out of college is climbing in this country and many students fail their classes their freshman year. This is often due to being overwhelmed with all that college has to offer and the sheer size and shock of the environment. Going to a smaller school first, is an easier transition. DON'T MISUNDERSTAND ME. I am not saying community college is like high school. At least the one I went to wasn't. Remember how I said I hated high school? Well if community college was anything like it, I certainly wouldn't have stuck it out longer than a day, ha. The transition however, is a lot smoother. 

2. SO MUCH CHEAPER: This is the obvious pro and possibly the best. Yes college is a great time of your life, but going into debt for the rest of your life over a short couple years IS. NOT. WORTH. IT.  The difference isn't just a few dollars. Try tens of thousands of dollars PER SEMESTER. This is huge. 
The community college I went to also offered me scholarships that the major universities don't offer. Based on my grades and requirements from high school I had every class paid for. My first two years of college were essentially free and now that these two years are over, I can't tell you how glad I am that I didn't blow through over thirty thousand dollars to take general education classes. 

3. Smaller class sizes and professor relationships: This is something many people told me I would love about a smaller school but didn't truly realize how much it would come in handy. Many classes at UCF for freshman have 300 students. A professor can't personally help and know 300 students from one class. However, in a class of 30, a professor is more likely to be understanding of problems you have and offer help. I utilized this advantage at times. I would go to my professors office and ask what improvements could be made on a big paper in order to get the best grade. I would email my teacher from the hospital and get an email back with all the lecture notes and work I missed and need to know about. This doesn't always happen at big universities and made the transition smooth and helped me academically as well.
I emailed my professor from Intro to Teaching (which I took my first semester) and told her about where I am headed, what I do now, and how her teaching helped me. Y'all, two years later she still remembers me and sent the kindest letter back. This is invaluable. 

4. Diverse student population: Something I didn't know I would love about community college was the diversity of the students. I walked into my first class and sat in between a 25 year old marine who just returned from deployment and a 40 year old woman going back to school part-time to pursue her dream. Group projects looked a lot different in college than they did in high school and I loved meeting people from so many different walks of life. Many students who go to community college are working individuals and I found that I could relate to them a lot more than perhaps students who do nothing but drink every night and don't have a job. #sorrynotsorry

5. Academic advising/ easy to get answers: This is something I didn't realize I would miss so much until now, when I am transferring to a large university. It is so much simpler to get answers about class schedule, required credits, financial statements, testing centers, textbooks, etc.. when it is all located in one office. I could just call a number and ask. Or better yet, I could walk into the office and grab a chair. At large universities there are a thousand offices for every little thing, and it would take you an entire day to get all your questions answered. Okay that was a bit dramatic, but you get my drift. 
My academic advisor knew me by name. He knew what my major was, what classes were my strong suit, and made my life so much easier. It was so nice to go before each semester to do a credit check and have someone who already knows what my plan is. He knew my plan to transfer after two years. He knew I hated math and wanted the easiest one possible. He knew that I wanted to take electives in education. He just got me and it was nice, once again, to feel like you aren't just a small fish in a big pond, and someone's task on a to-do list.

6. Guaranteed admission to a major university: This is something specific to my community college but know many community colleges have this partnership with the universities near them. For people who didn't get the grades in high school, community college is a great place to start. At Seminole State, if you earn your A.A. you are guaranteed admission to UCF. There of course are grade and prerequisite requirements that go along with that, but you get the point. This is a great option and keeps you from having to break your back in high school (taking AP classes and an abundance of clubs you don't care about) just for a chance at a four year degree. 


1. An easy transition: I know. I listed this as a pro too. This can also be a con, and I will explain why. After that initial newness of college wears off, you realize you are still just going to school. Granted, college is school regardless of where it is, but with less gadgets and gizmos than large universities, the easy transition can sometimes make it seem boring. I had several friends who were so eager to get out of the city they grew up in and wanted to live in a dorm and experience something new. If that is what you really want and value, than the easy transition may be a con for you.

2. Harder to be social / make new friends: At large universities, as a freshman, you are likely to meet a ton of people who are new to the area and dying to meet friends. You will be living on a campus full of people and have experiences to join a ton of clubs where you can meet people who have things in common with you. At community colleges this is a little harder. Seminole State did put on some events and have some clubs but they weren't very big and none really interested me. When you attend a community college, it is imperative that you be intentional about meeting new people if that is what you need. 
Personally, I had friends from my job and was involved in my church and volunteer work so I met new people often. However, if you are an extremely social person this might be difficult for you.  Even though I am not extremely social, I am looking forward to finally going somewhere that has opportunities to meet a lot of new people. You do meet some in your classes, but it's harder to feel like you know them when you just share a table for a lecture. The social scene can feel stale, especially if you don't have a job or church where you can meet people and make friends.

3. No fun: This was the main con for me. At community colleges there aren't parties, sporting events, gyms, club events, hammocks, pools, etc... Most people mainly just go there for classes. I was at first okay with this because I had a job and church full of people that I could go out and have fun with, but I must admit I am excited for the fun things UCF has to offer. Things like group spin classes, football games, clubs, formals, and concerts are what make this stage of life fun.

4. Transferring to a four year college: I loved how easy handling different tasks was at Seminole State and loved the people in their offices but transferring to UCF was quite a hassle. They advertise it as a Direct Connect and a seamless transition but it has been a pain. Seminole State seemed to think UCF handled many of the transferring process and UCF seemed to think Seminole State should handle a lot of the process. Needless to say, I handled most of this process. I have spent a loooooong time on the phone asking different people how I register for an orientation, how do I pay for classes, what are the requirements for my major at UCF, etc... There was a lot of information lost in the transition and it was frustrating. For example: There is a major test that education majors have to take before being admitted to their majors at UCF. No one told me. I had heard someone talking about it and called my advisor, who told me he wasn't sure. When I called a UCF advisor, I was told "oh yeah, we should have sent you some information about that, sorry."  This is a major exam required to become a certified teacher and I almost didn't know about it in time. 
I have heard of others having much easier transitions, so don't take my word as gospel, but be organized and on top of it if you plan to make the transfer after two years. 

Well there you have it everyone. I clearly have more pro's than con's and can easily say I wouldn't take anything back. My last two years have been wonderful and so much fun, and I look forward to the next two. I know that the path I took isn't for everyone, but it was the path God had for me. While at community college I had experiences that led me to closer to God and helped me find my passion. I am so thankful for God's faithfulness and pray that you seek him before making a decision about your future always. 

I hope you found this information helpful. Talk to you soon.



  1. I went to WMU for my first semester and hated it. I then transferred to a community college until I figured out where I wanted to transfer.

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    1. Unfortunately, that happens to a lot of people. Glad you found somewhere different to go! Thanks for reading.



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