Community colleges are cheaper than traditional colleges and universities. They are usually only 2 years, and credits usually transfer well to other institutions.
The question is whether or not you should attend one. The answer to that is maybe. People attend community colleges for several reasons and the benefits and drawbacks are worth considering.
For the graduating high school senior, going to community college often means living at home for 2 years and then transferring to a 4 year institution after those 2 years. You will save a lot of money doing this and these days, that is significant. You have to be careful to ensure that your next college or university will take the credits you earn. I would suggest talking to both the community college and potential follow on institutions to see how many and what types of credits transfer.
If you are unsure of your major, then community colleges are a great way to sample different majors to help the student determine which major they want to take.
Negative aspects of them do exist. You will miss out on some of the 4 year college experience in terms of personal development. The value of that depends on the person.
For me, that secondary part of my education was important for my development. For two of my best friends, it was less so. They started at community colleges, found what they wanted to do during that first year while I was at a traditional university on a ROTC scholarship, and then they transferred to separate 4 year institutions to receive their bachelor’s degrees. Both followed on to higher education, and are now practicing in the medical field. One is a surgeon, and the other is a mental health professional with a PHD.
The point is that you can do it, and do it well. I have met many others who have done the same over the years. The big thing I suggest is doing your homework on the institution whether you are a high school senior or a person looking for a career change.
The article that triggered my posting here is a ranking of community colleges in Connecticut. Check it out if you are interested, and of course I am sure such articles exist for other states.
I want to make another point here. I am an American, and all of my readers are not. I prefer to write about what I know so that I can make meaningful comments. I have been to several countries in South America and Europe, but vacations and work trips do not make me a person qualified to speak from that perspective other than to say that I have never had a bad experience overseas. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, I found Parisians to be universally kind and helpful. One nice old lady helped my wife and I while we were lost sightseeing without being asked. Our lack of French and her lack of English or Spanish did not prohibit her helping us. More to my point, I would love to learn more about experiences related to this from those outside as much as inside my country. It’s one of my hope for me from this site.