What are Some Good Reasons for Attending a Junior College?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Students may attend junior colleges for various reasons, including financial and flexibility needs.
Students may attend junior colleges for various reasons, including financial and flexibility needs.

There can be many excellent reasons for attending a junior college, also called a community college. These can relate to financial need, previous scholastic performance, continued education requirements, job retraining, or flexibility in hours of attendance. Some people find that the certificate programs available at a junior college are all they need to launch a successful career.

Students who performed poorly while in high school might benefit from attending a junior college.
Students who performed poorly while in high school might benefit from attending a junior college.

From a financial standpoint, attending a junior college makes excellent sense. In the US, community or junior colleges tend to be the least expensive education option for the first two years of college. If you don't have sufficient money to attend a four-year university, the junior college can save you lots of money, as you won’t be required to take out large loans the first two years of college.

Community and junior colleges sometimes offer courses for people who need to complete continuing education requirements.
Community and junior colleges sometimes offer courses for people who need to complete continuing education requirements.

Poor performance in high school, or even at a four-year college doesn’t affect your ability to get into a junior college. Most have what is called an open door policy, which allow you to enroll, even if you haven’t done well in the past. If you need to do a little extra work to pass classes, remedial courses can give you the preparation you need to be more successful in advanced classes, and you can often retake remedial courses if you don’t do well the first time.

Some jobs, like daycare worker, may only require a certification or degree from a junior college.
Some jobs, like daycare worker, may only require a certification or degree from a junior college.

Attending a junior college when you’ve had a poor high school performance is also an excellent way to show your abilities to four-year colleges that might not have accepted you based on that performance. Success in junior college can open up access to transferring to other colleges. Students who want to transfer to another college are more frequently judged by their junior college performance instead of their high school grades or SAT scores.

Students attending a junior college may need to find off campus venues to socialize.
Students attending a junior college may need to find off campus venues to socialize.

The community or junior college may also offer courses for those who need to fulfill continuing education requirements. This can be an excellent and inexpensive way to meet such requirements in a variety of fields. Continuing Ed classes can also be offered on nights or weekends, making them easier to attend for the working professional.

Some people decide mid career that they really don’t like their occupation. But a more complicated life, the need to pay bills, and many factors may mean you can’t give up an old job while going through retraining. A junior college frequently offers job retraining and flexible class times to take classes so workers can continue to work and start on a new career at the same time. Further, most junior colleges offer online classes, creating greater convenience for someone interested in a new career.

Junior colleges might have programs at a slower pace that makes it easier for students to learn material without being overwhelmed.
Junior colleges might have programs at a slower pace that makes it easier for students to learn material without being overwhelmed.

Perhaps you don’t know what you’d like to do. A junior college offers either working professionals or recent high school graduates opportunities to explore through introductory courses. Taking a course of interest to “try out” what a major in that subject would feel like is a great way to determine your career goals. Additionally, most junior colleges don’t require you to have a declared major, or are liberal about allowing you to change it.

Alternately, your chosen career may only require certification, which a junior college provides. You can train to be a chef, a daycare teacher, an electrician, a paralegal, or a nurse, to name just a few. Check with your individual junior college for a listing of active certification programs. These certification programs remain far less expensive than the professional private schools offering the same training.

Unlike the four-year university system, teachers, not teacher’s assistants, teach you. This translates to smaller class sizes, more opportunity to participate and greater access to your teacher. In many large universities, most general education courses are taught by PhD candidates, who may not ultimately want to teach, so skill at teaching can vary. Conversely, the junior college instructor usually has chosen to work at a junior college because he/she enjoys teaching and interacting with students. This attitude can only benefit the student, especially when a student needs a little extra help from an instructor.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Reminiscence

@Phaedrus, I think local junior colleges do best with technical training. If I had to do it all over again, I'd earn a two year degree in a trade at junior college, then move to a city near a four year college and pay my own way a few courses at a time.

Phaedrus

I attended a junior college for several years and I would highly recommend it. The closest four year college was 40 miles away from my hometown, but the junior college was only two miles away. I could still work a part time job while taking on a full course load. I lived at my parent's home in town, which saved me quite a bit of money compared to dormitory living.

I thought I was missing out on the full college experience while commuting to the junior college, but I talked with some of my friends who enrolled in the bigger state colleges and they said they didn't get much of that experience, either. Classes were held in huge auditoriums, and a lot of their professors didn't have the time to mentor them personally. Other than the social aspect, a four year college was not much different that a large junior college.

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    • Students may attend junior colleges for various reasons, including financial and flexibility needs.
      By: opolja
      Students may attend junior colleges for various reasons, including financial and flexibility needs.
    • Students who performed poorly while in high school might benefit from attending a junior college.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Students who performed poorly while in high school might benefit from attending a junior college.
    • Community and junior colleges sometimes offer courses for people who need to complete continuing education requirements.
      By: seandeburca
      Community and junior colleges sometimes offer courses for people who need to complete continuing education requirements.
    • Some jobs, like daycare worker, may only require a certification or degree from a junior college.
      By: sdenness
      Some jobs, like daycare worker, may only require a certification or degree from a junior college.
    • Students attending a junior college may need to find off campus venues to socialize.
      By: Deklofenak
      Students attending a junior college may need to find off campus venues to socialize.
    • Junior colleges might have programs at a slower pace that makes it easier for students to learn material without being overwhelmed.
      By: kmiragaya
      Junior colleges might have programs at a slower pace that makes it easier for students to learn material without being overwhelmed.