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Community Colleges and Trade Schools

Welcome back to your EDGE College Resource Blog! Read on for helpful information about community colleges and trade schools!

Today’s blogger is John Horne, 2014 EDGE alumni and current student at Merritt College.

What are Community Colleges and Trade Schools, and why are they important?

Trade schools offer hands-on, career-specific training. While you will have some classroom segments, most of your education will involve actually doing the thing you are studying. Community colleges are more theory-based and involve more lectures, like four-year colleges and universities. Community colleges are cheaper than four-year colleges, and in some cases, they can even be free. It’s definitely a cheaper option if you aren’t certain what you want do next.

Community Colleges and Trade Schools are very important because they both can help you learn in different ways. Just because it is a Community College it does not mean the classes will be easy. Also, you can knock your first two years out at Community College for cheaper than at a four-year institution and then transfer to a four-year. It is great for people who don’t know what they want to do yet but do know they want to attend college. You can achieve at a lot at schools like these. Trade schools are great for people who know for certain what they want to do and need additional training in that area.

What is your personal experience with this topic?

I attend Merritt College, and it has been a great experience. Because of community college I am able to work 2 jobs and still do community service, play basketball and just have fun. I am also being challenged in the classroom as well and talking about really interesting topics. Through community college I found out what my next step is and what I want to do and how I am going to do it.

When should students learn more about and/or apply to Community Colleges and Trade Schools? What are some things you wish you knew before applying?

Now, I believe Community Colleges get a bad review. In high school when people told me they went to Community College I was like, “Oh okay?” Teachers would make us write letters for colleges and have us practice. It was all so stressful to me with work, school, basketball and Community service. I just had “too much dip on my chip” as the cool people would say. If I knew this was an option earlier, it would have taken a lot of the stress off. I literally applied a week before school started–which I don’t recommend–and it only took two days for acceptance, and I had all my classes scheduled and I was ready for school. It’s good to know about ALL your options early. When a student starts looking at any college options at all, it’s important to keep the community college option in mind – it can be better suited for many situations. Don’t write it off just because it isn’t considered as prestigious.

What are some resources or tips to help students who may be interested in community college or trade schools?

TALK TO A COUNSELOR. Depending on the school or what you are trying to achieve they will match you up with the counselor that will best fit your needs. I thought it was going to be easy because I was just going to do my General Education classes and go to a four-year university, but I did not know you need to take the GED’s and have a certain amount of transferable units if you want to transfer. The amount of units depend on what school you want to transfer to.

DO NOT GET DISTRACTED. It is really easy to get distracted especially if you are going to your local community college. Just stay on track and be able to manage your time wisely.

Thank you John for your advice about community colleges and trade schools! Keep an eye on our College Resources page for a new article every two weeks! Got community college or trade school questions that still need answering? Comment below!

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