Many high school graduates have the option to go to immediately move away from home and attend a four year school or stay in town, go to a junior college, and then transfer after two years. But which better? Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Two Year Schools
Students are normally able to maintain a better GPA at junior colleges because the courses are not designed to “weed out” students who don’t make the best grades. It’s a good place to build up your GPA. Some students go graduate high school with a high enough GPA to get into a big, competitive four year school. For those students, a short stint at a junior college can help them gain entrance into the school of their choice after 2 years.
The disadvantages of junior colleges are the general lack of everything one might expect at college – social life, fraternities, sororities, and the independence that comes with living away from home.
More often than not, students don’t really know what they want to go to school for, and the experience is actually worth more than the degree. Those students will definitely want to either go directly to a four year school or transfer as soon as possible.
Four Year School
Four year schools offer everything one could ask for at college – social events, fraternities, sororities, on-campus living/dorms, recreational facilities, etc. Intramural sports are also extremely popular at larger schools. Students can play on softball, soccer, kickball, flag football, and ultimate Frisbee teams, and the intramural season culminates in a championship.
One noted disadvantage of larger schools is grades. Many of the classes for freshmen and sophomores are designed to weed students out of specific career tracks, and their tactics are often less than honorable. The goal changes from trying to teach something to trying to make something unnecessarily hard. Professors will write test questions with the intent of tricking their students – it can be frustrating. I once had a professor that did this, and I had to retake his class. The class shouldn’t have been hard; I just didn’t understand how the test questions were written. They didn’t make sense to me. Unfortunately, this practice is super common among university professors.
Many students opt for the local, two year school because it’s cheaper. All sorts of hidden costs are associated with moving to a college town, enrolling in classes, finding an apartment, buying food, meal plans, etc. It’s definitely a good thing to do, but some families just don’t have the money. It can mean going into debt, and each student must weigh the benefits and reward of borrowing large amounts of money for college.
If you do choose to take out student loans, try to keep your costs down as much as possible, and don’t go to a private school where tuition can be two to three times higher than at a public college. Additionally, going out of state is also a bad choice if you’re trying to save money.