Attending college or university has some great advantages but there are also some disadvantages. However, this shouldn’t mean giving up on your goals for a higher education, or furthering your career. It simply means that you should have realistic expectations of your educational development.
Compared to a community college, or online learning, universities are certainly not the most cost effective way of getting a higher education. If you’re not local, there’s the cost of room and board on top of tuition fees. For many students, making ends meet means taking out a student loan. Although there are other types of financial aid available for students, the student loan is by far the most common. These then have to be repaid, usually at a significant interest rate. It puts students on the back foot financially before they’ve even started a career. Furthermore, it also puts pressure on them to find a job immediately they leave university too so they can start repaying the loan.
Universities are often large impersonal places. Classes are typically large, and are held in auditorium style lecture halls. Students rarely get to know their teachers; entry-level courses may even be taught by graduate students instead of professors. Compare this with the advantages of smaller classes held in more intimate classroom settings that you’ll find in a community college. Or the one on one help you’ll get if you enroll in an online degree course. This may be part of the reason why students who go through community colleges first are statistically far more likely to make it all the way through their degree when they head to university than those who go straight into a 4 year university degree.
If you’re a gregarious, socially outgoing type of person you may find that the impersonal atmosphere at university cramps your style somewhat. Certainly, it may limit your interaction with other students. It’s hard to get group interaction happening in a large lecture hall with dozens of students in attendance. This is where the smaller campuses and classroom environments of community colleges can be a benefit. It allows for more interaction between students, and also between lecturers and teachers. Some people thrive in this type of learning environment whilst others may find it confronting to be expected to participate in group discussions.
University campuses can also be intimidating for someone who isn’t very fit, or has mobility issues. They’re often very large places, involving long walks between lectures. For someone who’s fit this may not present too many challenges, although lugging around a day’s worth of heavy textbooks may test even the fittest students. Community colleges with their smaller campuses are far less taxing.
You could also consider obtaining your degree via e-learning instead. For example, if you’re interested in furthering your career in the fire services, you can opt to attend Fire College, or you can enroll in Fire Officer 1 courses online and complete the work conveniently in your own time, and at your own pace.