Deciding on where to go to college is a tough choice but what makes the choice even harder sometimes is the decision between a community college and a university.  While they both have their ups and downs, there’s no reason to attend both in your college career.  In fact, some counselors will guide you down that path, just so that you can save money in the long run.

If you’re curious on what the differences between a community college and university are, I’ve created a list for you to study the positive sides and the negative sides.  Remember, an education is important and a college sometimes is a deciding factor for an employer when they are looking to hire someone in.  Someone with a degree from the University of Michigan is more likely to get in compared to someone going to an unknown online university.

Let’s start with a community college first and explore what goes on at a community college that generally doesn’t happen at a university –

  • A community college is more affordable.  Compare the rates to your local universities and community colleges.  You’ll find a big differences in prices.  The cool thing is though that most community colleges will allow you to go for two years and you can transfer those credits to an accredited university.
  • More flexible.  A community college is generally more flexible with your schedule but this isn’t always the case.  Most of the times you’ll be able to get into classes that fix your outside schedule.  A community college is great for those who work a lot of hours.
  • Only issues AA degrees.  Community college will only issue associates degrees.  If you’re looking to get your Bachelor’s, it always helps to get your associates at the community college to save money and proceed to transfer your credits to the major university.  Make sure that your credits can transfer ahead of time, if that’s going to be your goal.
  • Smaller classes.  This is based on my own experience.  Community colleges will usually have a smaller class from anywhere from 20-40 students while a university has lecture hall rooms filled.  At a community college, this provides a more one on one atmosphere, where you can actually get your answers answered by the professor.

Now that we’ve looked at the perks of a community college, let’s set our focus on a university –

  • More than associates degrees.  If you’re looking to get more than your associates and you want to stick with one game plan, a university is a great place to start.  This way you’re able to follow a game plan and you know all your credits will count toward your degree.
  • Stay on campus.  If you want to focus on school and nothing else, a university will provide you with a dorm room that is technically shared with roommates.  If you stay on campus, you’ll be more likely to focus on your schoolwork rather than leaving community college and going back to your everyday lifestyle.
  • Younger audience.  At a community college, you’re going to find people of all ages.  From senior citizens to teens fresh out of high school, a university is generally strict on who they left in.  You’re going to find a lot more people in the 18-25 range.  This helps with social activities if that’s one of the concerns you have with school.
  • Commute time.  This one will vary for most but your community college will usually be in your county and the university you want to attend will most likely be further away for you.  This will hurt you at the gas pump if you plan on driving to the university itself.

In the long run, it’s really up to you on what you want to do.  If you want to save money, go the community college route and transfer down the road.  If you just want to stay in one place the whole time, take the university route.  I hope this helps you in your decision when you’re debating between a community college and university.