You’ve probably heard community colleges referred to as “13th grade,” or “junior colleges,” right? You may have also heard some of the most successful four-year university graduates and hardest workers in high-paying careers call community college the “best first step” to their higher education journey. Why? With more than 280 degree and certificate programs to choose from at Alabama’s 24 community colleges, you can gain a top-notch education through real-life work experience, smaller class sizes, student success centers, and social activities within the community you already know. That makes the transition from high school to college much smoother, and it makes the transition from college straight into a career a realistic possibility.
Research shows that students who start at a junior college before transferring to a four-year university tend to graduate at higher rates than students who go to a four-year university straight from high school. Here’s a breakdown of why this matters— using the Alabama Community College System acronym:
ADVANCEMENT. The top employers in many industries respect how Alabama community colleges train their students, so it’s very common to get hired as soon as you graduate. The apprenticeships and internships ACCS students have while in college set them several steps ahead of workers without that experience.
COST. Tuition at a community college is far less than half the cost that four-year universities charge for the exact same academic classes. That’s a big deal!
CONVENIENCE. Alabama community colleges are located throughout every region of the state in more than 130 locations, so you don’t have to leave home to study for your career! ACCS offers convenient morning and afternoon classes that you can take on-campus or online.
STUDENT EXPERIENCE. Whether you are interested in sports, honor societies, dance, band, acting, or trade-specific groups, your student experience at a junior college is bound to stick with you for a lifetime. The colleges have instructors and leadership teams that are willing to put in the extra effort to ensure that you succeed in every way. Don’t just take our word for it— stop by your nearest community college! Tour the campus, meet with the instructors and find out about financial aid like the Pell Grant and scholarships. Then, apply to take the best next step of your life!