It’s become second nature for this generation to have “go to college” on their lifetime checklist. But what happens when the typical college experience isn’t necessarily the best option? A In her new book “The Community College Advantage,” Diane Melville dishes out the 411 on how to make community college the first step on the road to the big leagues.
“We’re told that we have to go to college,” Melville says, “but maybe what you want to do doesn’t require a $50,000 education.”
She adds, “I like to think that Community College is sort of a gateway in that for high school students it’s an opportunity to get into calibers of institutions that they might not have had a chance to in high school because of the sheer volume of applicants. It’s a huge opportunity.”
Low Cost, High- Reward
“You have to notice that community college admissions and their enrollment has changed drastically over the years,” Melville says. “Before it meant that students didn’t quite know what they wanted to do in high school. Now, it’s really becoming that they’re really bright students who just can’t afford a 4 year institution.”
But just because you can’t afford a 4 year university, doesn’t mean you aren’t receiving the education that you need. According to Melville, it is often that professors, who teach at really high caliber institutions, are also teaching as adjuncts at community colleges.
Beginning a college career at community college allows students to take several general education prerequisites and pay a very minimal cost for them, according to Melville. This provides the opportunity for students to be able to dive right into the core classes that are key to their major once they transfer to an institution, while also meeting other transfer students.
“A lot of schools will have transfer programs where you get grouped with other transfer students,” Melville says, “and that’s always great because you meet people from all sorts of walks of life and it introduces you to the university with a close group of friends and peers, and that’s always really great.”
Another advantage of transferring is the ability to reset and reclaim your educational profile.
“Sometimes when you transfer, your GPA goes back to 0,” Melville says. “If you transfer to a really great school, you can graduate with a 4.0. That looks phenomenal.”
According to Melville, the cost benefit and the ability to have a second chance at a school that “makes you proud, makes your family proud and will really launch you academically and professionally,” is just too big of an opportunity to overlook.