Junior College is the Best Option
Oftentimes we hear negative opinions and comments about attending a junior college over a university. Through my experiences I feel there are many benefits in attending a junior college. The benefits I have found include: convenience, educational benefits, and financial savings.
First of all, attending a junior college
is convenient in many ways. For example, if a student attends a junior college there is a better chance of having someone that you know in a particular class. Knowing someone in a class is a little less scary than being in it all alone. It is also convenient to attend a junior college to be closer to home. If a student decides to attend a junior college, he or she could choose to live at home, which saves money. By attending a junior college a person does not have a long drive home for holidays or weekends. Furthermore, attending a junior college is convenient because students will be able to keep their high school jobs
. If they are not able to keep their high school jobs, they are more familiar with other job openings in the area.
is another good reason for deciding to attend a junior college instead of a university. I feel that a student can learn more and get more out of a class lecture when there are smaller classes. It is easier for me to ask questions when the class size is 30 versus 300 students. Having a smaller class means that the instructor will have a little more time for one-on-one meetings and discussions. In one of my classes this semester at Sauk Valley Community College, the professor goes over the tests after grading is done with each individual student. I am sure you won't find this at a four-year college. The classes at a junior college are held in classrooms, and at universities they are often held in big lecture halls. Another educational benefit to attending a junior college is the smaller campus. The campuses at most universities are huge! It takes less time to get from one class to another at a junior college. Most of the time the junior college has one main building that holds all the various classes offered. When I took a college visit to Illinois State University, I swear you had to walk for a mile before getting to your next class. To me this is absolutely ridiculous and time consuming.
Starting at a junior college before transferring to a university is also a smart thing to do. If a four-year degree is needed, it is worthwhile to complete the general requirements at a two-year institution, then move on to a university. School is not for everyone. If a student struggled through high school, then maybe a certificate program at a junior college is perfect for that person. Because a certificate program takes less time to complete, this means there is less time for a student to struggle through it. Not every job requires a four-year degree, so why waste time and money? If a student does not want a four-year degree, junior colleges offer a great number of programs of study that are interesting. Junior colleges offer certificates and associate's degrees in various fields. Students may decide to take only a couple of semesters to get a certificate in a certain field. Earning a certificate takes less time and saves a lot of money. If a student decides to get a certificate, the student does not have to take the general requirements for an associate's degree. The certificate programs are designed to prepare a student for an entry-level job upon completion of the program.
There are also extra-curricular activities at junior colleges, including sports, drama clubs, and so on, so you aren't missing out on the extras if you go to a community college. I have known many people to play sports here at Sauk, which makes them eligible for scholarships they most likely would not get at a university.
The most important benefit that I think there is to attending a junior college is the financial savings. The present tuition is $48 per credit hour at Sauk. I have paid $1,638 for tuition and fees for two semesters this year. At the University of Illinois, where my cousin attends, the tuition is approximately $4,000, and room and board is approximately $9,000 a year. Those are some pretty big numbers. The book prices here are pretty much the same as what my cousin pays. The book prices seem to be the only thing that is the same.
I have seen some friends pay thousands of dollars to attend a university, and after a year they are nowhere, except maybe in debt. I think it is wiser to start at a junior college and get an idea of what you want to be when you grow up. At a university, students need to buy meal cards for two to three meals a day, and groceries or snacks to store in their rooms. I can eat at home for nothing besides helping out a little. In comparison, I feel my education as a whole is much more affordable.
I think that attending a junior college is the route to go. The benefits I described are great guidelines to go by. I think more people should consider junior colleges before making their minds up about universities. A junior college may be a much better choice for certain individuals. I am happy with the choice I have made.