There are probably a few community colleges near you. If you don't know where to look, we suggest looking on Google Maps for the closest community colleges. That's what these schools are all about: offering local students the opportunity to study in a way that's accessible to them.
Community colleges are cheap. According to U.S. News, they're about $9,000 a year for full-time tuition (source). Okay, not super cheap, but it's cheap compared to the costs of a four-year college, which can get super pricey (some are over $60,000 a year). Most people tend to live at home when attending community colleges, so the easy commute can help you save big bucks on room and board as well.
Attending community college can set you up to transfer to a four-year program if you rock the GPA.
Some careers don't require a Bachelor's degree, so an Associate's degree is the smarter choice.
Lack of mobility. An Associate's degree tends to prepare students for a very specific career, which may limit options after graduation if you decide that particular career isn't for you.
Bet on a community college if...
1. You plan to eventually earn a Bachelor's degree, but want to
save money and/or raise your GPA before attending a four-year college.
2. You have a specific career in mind and a community college
Associate's degree is the way to get there.
When you hear "college," it's these bad boys you think of. The four-year school can offer the quintessential college experience of crazy parties, cramming for exams, late-night roommate talks, and Frisbee in the quad.
The important point to remember is that these schools come in a huge variety of flavors, so be sure to find the one that fits before investing your time and money.
Career mobility. A four-year Bachelor's degree prepares you for a more specialized professional career and is a prerequisite for many jobs and graduate school.
Four-year colleges can be a great return on investment. They're more prestigious than two-year colleges, and they look good on your resume—which could mean getting a higher-paying job.
Money and time. You need to be sure that your plans for the future require a four-year degree, and that the cost of your education is worth the cost.
Bet on a four-year college if...
your plans include a professional-level career that requires
a Bachelor's degree or graduate school, and the finances make sense.