By Ana Piña
Pulse Staff Reporter
Prospective students entering the world of higher education have various opportunities presented to them. The most common choices are 2-year institutions and 4-year institutions.
Although the typical option is to attend a 4-year institution, 2-year institutions have many benefits when attending them first.
For instance, the tuition and fees are more affordable at a 2-year institution. Community colleges tend to have a lower cost per credit hour than 4-year universities. While The University of Texas at San Antonio offers 12 hours for $4,024, Palo Alto College offers the same amount of hours for $1,316. The affordability of going to a 2-year college allows a student to take all of their prerequisites for a much lower cost when compared to attending a 4-year university.
“I was able to save a lot of money due to the fact that most of my classes would transfer over to the 4-year at half the cost,” said Julian Ledesma, a Palo Alto alumni and current student at Texas A&M-San Antonio.
This advantage is seen when a student is deciding on their future career path. Many students tend to change their major at least once, and it is expensive taking classes that one might not need. The low-cost tuition and fees allow a student to explore different career possibilities without emptying their wallets.
Two-year institutions allow students to ease into the world of higher education. A recurring theme that is voiced by college dropouts is that there is too much pressure put on them.
At a community college, the benefits include smaller class sizes, more one-on-one time with professors and tutoring services. This helps students grasp the topic better and allows them to learn at their own pace.
“There is less pressure at a community college,” said Mari Shanahan, a sophomore who attended Our Lady of the Lake University and is a current student at PAC. “It’s easier to motivate myself, and I do my work better. Community-wise, people are friendlier. There is a larger diversity of ages, and a bigger demographic.”
Community colleges tend to be more open when selecting students, accepting many people who are going through different stages in life. For this reason, more diversity exists when it comes to who is a community college student.
“It was more isolated with a 4-year. Two-years are more open to interaction,” said Hollie Tyra, a sophomore who attended Texas A&M-San Antonio and is a current student at PAC.
This interaction allows students to feel more welcome and encourages them to participate and be a part of the student body.
Two-year institutions offer just as many opportunities as 4-year institutions.
“Palo Alto has a lot of programs I can fit into. There are more free opportunities for me, … like going to certain events, and parking is free,” said Isabel Herrera, a sophomore who attended The University of the Incarnate Word and is a current student at PAC.
When putting them all together, the affordability, support, larger diversity and opportunities offered are just a few of the reasons why starting at a 2-year institution has many benefits.