Headline:  Go ahead, give it the good college try

Date: 12/27/2020

Body:  OK, this might seem like a major change of pace, but, the largest expenses, outside of a house is often retirement and college education.  So, it seemed to me that addressing this might be central to the checkbooks of many Americans.    Many people have been told for years that they should go to college.   But debt will likely be a future you have contemplate if you attend a 4-year college.    A good alternative might be a local community college.  The article from the Penny Hoarder is linked below

4 Ways Community Colleges Can Help Boost Your Earning Potential (thepennyhoarder.com)

When many people think of community college, they think of Welding, carpentry and training HVAC professionals.  All of these programs are offered, and each are potentially profitable because there are few younger people going into these trades, and many people aging out of them.  But, community colleges also offer a lot of other opportunities.

1.Explore Well-Paying Jobs That Require Only a Two-Year Degree–> There are some well-paid positions that can be obtained with only a 2-year degree.   Among these are medical assistants, massage therapists, and bookkeepers. 

2. Earn Valuable Career Credentials–> Perhaps a credential could put you on a fast-track to promotion at work.  If this credential is offered at a community college, tuition might be approachable.

3. Take the First Step Into an Apprenticeship Program–> Often, businesses will take on apprentices to see if they will be good employees.   These apprenticeships often are not well-paid, but you do get significant job skills and the opportunity to network.

4. Make Use of a Makerspace–> Very often, somebody might have an idea for a product, but lack the facilities to fabricate it or do R&D work.   Not infrequently, the community colleges will either sponsor or be in cooperation with a makerspace that will allow you to quickly mock-up a design for your creation.  (Makerspaces are places where people can

If I just completed High School, should I consider a community college?

Yes, you should consider community college.  You could go there and get your 2 year associates degree, and then either go directly into a job, or apply to transfer to a 4-year school, with many of your credits already earned.   There are a few more important things to consider, too:

1.You save a LOT of money!!–>  Community College tuition is usually VERY inexpensive, and often people can live at home, and work part-time jobs to help pay for rent.  Remember, this is all debt (with interest) that one is avoiding.  A HUGE savings of money.

2. Classes with a flexible schedule can be a lot more approachable than in High School, and you can usually earn pretty good grades, which might offset some possibly less-than-stellar ones in High School.

3. If one is unsure what to “major” in, these 2 years provide a nice time to look around and see what makes sense to them.  The smaller classes too, can free up discussion time with teachers and fellow-students, and this can help foster the needed exploration.

What are the “cons” of attending community college for the first 2 years?

The #1 “problem” is that some of the students can be uninvolved (either with the academics or the school community) and students who WANT to get involved can feel short-changed.    This can become a sap on motivation to do well, and this lack of motivation is something to be avoided, if possible.

The other thing that might be difficult, is executing the transfer and getting your community college credits on your 4-year transcript.  But, this can be mitigated and is not really an issue, usually.

  1.  If the 4-year school is “in-state” with respect to the residency of the student, the community college will often have a codified transfer program with the 4-year institution.
  2. The student who is considering a transfer should obtain the syllabus for each class taken at the community college.  In the transfer, they will want to know just what material was covered, in an effort to determine a just awarding of credits.  (This was advice given me by a caring professor.)
  3. If the transfer is “out-of-state”, the student can  often take achievement tests that will corroborate their already having had this material, and they can skip classes at the more expensive 4-year institution.

The Verdict

As so often happens in Life, it depends so much upon the student making the decision.  But nobody can argue that graduating with \less debt can be liberating.  I guess that the verdict would have to be to examine your heart, and then your finances.  If either is borderline, perhaps community college could be a very responsible choice.   Remember, school is NEVER out!!!


4 Reasons to Consider Community College | The Princeton Review

The Pros And Cons Of Community Colleges – Scholarships.com

Why Starting At Community College Is Better (And Why It’s Not) (forbes.com)

Community College: You’ve Heard the Myths, Now Let’s Talk Benefits (bestcolleges.com)

Editor’s Note: The information in this blog should not be construed as tax advice.   Each individual has attributes that could change the recommendations in a material manner.  For this reason, please enjoy this blog, but before taking action, consult a CPA or tax professional to discuss the details of your situation.

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