Why Community College Isn't Just Like High School

on May 31, 2016

Community college offers plenty of benefits. The costs are far below what you’d pay at a private school, and often in-state public schools as well. They’re close to home, which is great if you don’t want to live on campus. And they give you some more time to figure out what you want to major in or which four-year school you want to attend if you still aren’t sure or think your interests could change after taking some gen eds.

But oftentimes, it’s difficult for students to see the benefits of community colleges because of one thing: They think it’ll be just like high school. Being in the same area, going to school with people they already know, and living with their family makes them believe community college is just a two-year extension of high school.

Don’t let this common fear put you off applying to your local two-year college. Here are just a few reasons community college really isn’t anything like high school.

It’s Bigger
Some high school students assume going to community college means they’ll have to interact with everyone they knew in high school all over again. But community colleges take students from multiple local high schools and typically have thousands of students – there’s no way you’ll walk onto campus knowing everyone! Even if you do see a few familiar faces, it’ll be in a completely different environment (and truth be told, you may feel reassured when you do see people you recognize if you’re overwhelmed your first week).

You’ll Have More Class Options
Ever get sick of taking mandatory math or foreign language classes in high school? At community colleges, they may be optional. While you’ll need to confirm you’re fulfilling any gen ed requirements, chances are if you really don’t like a subject, you won’t have to take much of it, just like at a four-year school.

Similarly, you’ll be exposed to a huge variety of classes that a K-12 education just can’t offer. Medieval history, sculpture, ethics and fashion merchandising classes may not have existed in your high school, but they’re probably available at your local community college.

Your Schedule is Flexible
Sure, your high school may have allowed upperclassmen to go off campus for lunch or take advantage of late arrival or early dismissal periods. But you probably didn’t get to customize your schedule based purely on your wants and needs. Are you a morning person? Schedule your classes for the morning and find yourself free all afternoon. Want to work hard and save money? Create a schedule that will allow you attend class two or three days a week and put in your hours on the job the other four or five days. You definitely didn’t get that sort of flexibility and freedom in high school.

There’ll Be a New Range of Extracurriculars 
Maybe your high school didn’t offer many clubs or sports that interested you. Or perhaps your school was so small there really wasn’t much available. That changes in college, even if you’re going to a two-year school. Join a poetry club, get involved with a political movement, or nab a spot on the Quidditch team if you’re a Harry Potter fan. There’s something for everyone on a community college campus.

With all this in mind, can you really keep saying community college is just like high school? Add your local two-year school to your college list. And don't forget to check out our facts on community colleges!

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