Community Colleges and Its Mythical Stigma

For the hordes of students aspiring to study abroad, an associate degree from a community college has held the dubious accreditation of “the last resort”. Why is it so? Is it because of the academic flexibility offered by such colleges? Or do people feel the need to be neck deep in debt to feel educated? Here are the top 6 reasons for choosing an associate degree from a community college as an entry point into the U.S.:

  • The annual tuition fee at a community college is at least 3 times lesser than a public university, and 6 times lesser than a private university.
  • An undergraduate education should include the experience of understanding oneself and exploring different options. A 17-year-old will not have this opportunity at a university, since the pressure of spending up to a crore on education will stifle his/her enthusiasm to explore.
  • Small class sizes will help students acclimatize themselves to a foreign study environment. It will not only reduce jittery nerves, but also improve the quality of education. Lecturers at community colleges are less occupied with having to educate a truck load of students, and more willing to give students individual attention whenever required.
  • Community colleges offer specialized training which is in accordance with the current need of the job market.
    http://hechingerreport.org/graduates-of-four-year-universities-flock-to-community-colleges-for-job-skills/
  • There are numerous examples of community college grads earning a similar salary as their university counterparts (if not more).
    http://hechingerreport.org/many-community-college-grads-continue-to-out-earn-b-a-holders-a-decade-after-graduation/
  • For those who are still apprehensive about community colleges because of the label on their certificate (let’s face it, we as Indians place a lot of importance on the name which headlines the certificate), we have a debt free option:
    • Complete your associate degree from a community college, which will give you plenty of time to understand your interests and find a part time job under the same domain.
    • A part time job will not only help ease your living expenses, but also expose you to other riveting facets of your interest.
    • Keep your grades up and you will not find it hard to get into a topnotch university, along with a handsome scholarship.
    • Credits from your associate degree will be transferred to the undergraduate program if your stream of education remains the same. If you avail this option you would have studied similar courses for 1/3rd the price.
    • The last two years of your education will cost you quite a bit depending on the university you pick to complete your undergraduate degree.

However, once you complete your UG degree, you will have an Undergrad Certificate which will display the name of your most recent university i.e. there will be no mention of the community college attended during the first two years of your education. Hence, a person who spends a crore on his/her education (all 4 years at a private university) will end up with the same degree as one who spends 60 lakhs or lesser (first 2 years at a community college and last two 2 years at a university, without scholarship).

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