I got into MSU as a senior in high school, but I didn’t want to go there. I had a plan. Thanks to my high school grades, I got a $2,000 scholarship to Oakland Community College. It would nearly cover my entire first year. I would go to OCC for two years and then transfer to MSU as a junior, successfully graduating in four years and paying less for the piece of paper. But I felt some push to go to a four-year university.
“You’ll miss out on the dorms and the experience!”
“You’ll regret it.”
“It’s important to get out on your own.”
Whatever. I ignored those sons-of-bitches and went to community college. It was a great solution for me, and I still met great people and made great friends. I had some incredible professors. I learned just as much as I did at MSU. It was the absolute perfect experience for me and I do not regret a thing (in fact, I often miss OCC more than I miss MSU, no matter how much I dig my PW buddies). It was a great bridge from high school to college. I didn’t feel pushed out of my house and stranded in a big college all on my own. It let me slowly build up my independence, so by the time I was moving out of my mom’s house I felt ready.
But let’s go over some pros and cons of attending a community college before transferring to a four-year.
- Save money
- Live at home (this was a pro for me. I got to stay close to some of my close friends and live with my mother, whom I have a great relationship with. I also got to stay in the lives of my brothers longer, which I am grateful for)
- Missing out on the dorms (I like cooking my own food, thank you very much)
- Community college has some GREAT courses. I learned much more in my general classes at OCC than I did at MSU and at a fraction of the price
- Smaller classes and a greater variety of students—I became friends with several people a lot older than me who were back for an education or taking classes for fun
- Smaller campus—easier to navigate and easier to get a job on (I worked as an English Literacy Tutor for a year and a half, plus as a French Study Instructor)
- If you take a bad class, at least you aren’t paying thousands of dollars for it
- Live at home (this might be a con for you even though it was a pro for me)
- By starting at a four-year college as a junior, it’s harder to make friends as most people have already formed their friend groups (regardless, I made great friends—it just took two semesters)
- You miss the experience of the dorms (pro for me, might be a con if you reeeeally wanna do that)
- Less FinAid once you do get to a four-year university (however, that didn’t matter for me because OCC saved me so much money)
- If you don’t know where you’re going to transfer to, many of the classes you take at a community college might not transfer—and that means wasted time and money. Knowing if your classes transfer and having a plan is super important
So, what do you think? Did you do community college first or a full four years in one place? Do you wish you’d done it differently?