Why going to community college out of high school is a good idea


Marco Milani

It might be wise to pick a community college than the expensive 4 year.

Congratulations! You’re about to graduate from high school! You have your dream school in mind, and you apply to it. Then you do more research, and at some point see the prices. “That’s really expensive,” you think. So now that particular school is out of the question, you research other schools. You keep seeing ads for the local community college, but you just ignore them, because you want to go to a big name university.

However, I am here to tell you that community college is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably the best choice you can make coming out of high school.

The first thing to note is that going to community college is much cheaper than a four-year university. According to an infographic from US News and World Report, private schools cost, on average, just over $35,000, while public schools would cost over $21,000 out-of-state and over $9,000 in-state.

Meanwhile, at a community college, it would be around $4,000 for two years, according to an article from CNBC from 2019.

“But what about books?” you might be thinking. Most books are offered online, or can be rented for cheap off of sites like Amazon.com, especially now with the pandemic.

Additionally, in the San Mateo County Community College system, some classes are offered with “zero textbook cost” (ZTC), meaning that the course will not require you to buy any textbooks. After doing some research on WebSchedule, I found many classes at Cañada that fall under this category. As for CSM and Skyline, there are no results for any ZTC classes as of the writing of this article. This is possibly due to the fall 2021 class schedule having just been released.

Aside from the matter of prices, going to community college can actually mean spending less time at the bigger university to which one eventually transfers. This is because some classes are transferable to the bigger universities, such as schools in the UC system or the CSU system. Circling back to WebSchedule, there is an option to sort by transferable classes based on the subject and section.

Also, if you work while going to school, you can pick classes more in line with your schedule, and by the time you transfer, you will have earned enough units to go on to the bigger university while also having been saving up for it.

On a similar note, going to a community college can help you if you are coming out of high school and haven’t decided what career you want to aim for or what you want to major in yet. If you feel that you don’t really know what you want to in life, don’t be discouraged. A study from Penn State found that 20-50% of students enter college as an undecided major, so you are not alone.

However, community colleges provide many options that allow students to explore different fields of study in order to choose something that they can truly love to do. Whether it be something in the sciences, the arts, or anything other field, you can find something that you can see yourself doing in the near future.

So, with the low cost, the fact that the courses you can take can transfer to a bigger university, and being able to explore what you want to do if you are undecided, going to community college out of high school is a great option. So, if you ever see an ad for a community college, don’t completely rule it out — It might just benefit you.