The college landscape has changed over time. More parents and students now recognize the advantages of an affordable, two-year community college relative to a four-year school. Each college format has advantages for students contemplating where to go for the first two years of school.
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Community college classes often cap at 25 to 30 students. A lot of the required general education classes at a large university hold 200 to 400 students. If you want or need a close relationship with professors, it is easier to interact with them in a small class setting.
Four-year schools do often provide a broader on-campus living experience than you get at a community college. Though some JUCOs have added on-campus apartments to attract more residential students, the social opportunities and community experience is ingrained in the typical university culture.
When you live on campus at a university, you have convenient access to thousands of other students, the dining hall, computer labs, recreation centers, social events and sports. A community college often has a large commuter population.
A major driver of community college growth is its more affordable cost. In many cases, you get an associate’s degree for around $10,000 to $12,000. Living at home adds to the economic advantage. In contract, an in-state resident might spending anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 for one year of tuition, room and board at a public institution.
A community college does not have the scope of degrees and program opportunities that you find at a large university. A JUCO might have a single Marketing degree, for instance, whereas a university offers several niche programs in the field of Marketing.
Students have access to quality professors at both community colleges and universities. However, some subtle distinctions exist in their backgrounds. A typical university professor has more experience in academic research and publishing, as these are common requirements at research institutions.
A staple of the community college professor is professional work experience in the field in which he teaches. Some university professors have substantial professional experience as well, but JUCO programs often mandate that faculty has a certain amount of work time before hire.
Community colleges and universities each have a lot to offer. Students who want four years of the traditional college experience with broad access to programs and on-campus living would appreciate a university. Students who want to save money, interact closely with professors and get a quality degree get good value at a community college.