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The Pros and Cons of Pursuing a 2-year College Degree

OSAU Angel

 A degree does not fully define a person's potential towards success. We all know famous people who dropped out of college and ended up being successful like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

While the fact that attaining a bachelor's degree to become successful is stereotypical, an associate's degree of two years offers similar perks and will provide enough experience and growth for an individual to compete in the professional world. 

For some people, it is a matter of expense. A two-year college is simply a more affordable option. For other people, it is a matter of time. Some people wish to get started in the workforce as soon as possible, and do not want to spend four years in school. For others, it is a matter of career interest.

Certain people may simply prefer the job fields that require career-focused training rather than academic coursework. Whatever the reason, it is important that both two-year and four-year colleges are available for today?s students. With rising costs of college tuition, students are weighing their options.

It might sound convenient and easy to pursue a two-year rather than a four-year, so here are some of disadvantages to consider if you plan on pursuing an associate's degree:


1. Few degree options 

There is usually a limited variety of majors to choose from, especially if you want to transfer to a specific college or university in the future.

Some associate's degree offers only vocational courses like hairdressing and beauty therapy, bartending, plumbing and mostly related to blue collar jobs.

While some may offer other vocational courses like computer technology, locomotive engineering and the likes, only selected schools and colleges offer such.


2. Less prestige 

When your employer looks at your curriculum vitae, the name of your school matters. It was mentioned a while ago, only selected and few universities offer 2-year degrees and the programs are very limited.

Many people tend to think a university is more prestigious than a community college and provides a better education. You can get an excellent education from either a two- or four-year college, but it is important to find a program that matches your needs and goals.

This is a stigma we want to combat. A person's capabilities should not be defined by one?s school or program.


3. Higher degree 

Students must transfer to another school to pursue a bachelor's degree, which is also a requisite for a master's or doctoral degree.


4. Transferring credits can be very difficult 

Sometimes it's easy to transfer your community college course credits to a four-year school, but sometimes it's not. If you plan to transfer to a four-year school (or are considering this), be sure to find yourself a good adviser! The trick is to take classes that you know will transfer easily.


5. Different atmosphere

These schools are geared to the needs of commuter students, so you won't find the vibrant and fun community life that comes with living on a college campus. It's also harder to get to know your fellow students on a community college campus than at a four-year school.


6. Less access to research 

Students have less access to research being done by faculty members and virtually no chance to get a job working on the faculty's research because most two-year college professors are adjuncts and don't do research on campus.


7. Fewer campus resources 

At a community college, you're less likely to have a high-quality college library, student center, and other perks of a university.


8. Too much "home" and less campus life

 For some recent high school graduates, living at home is not where they want to be. Also, being close to home may also mean that you are juggling school, family, and work responsibilities at the same time.

It might not sound important but socializing and building connections help you when you engage in the professional world. Apart from that, you get to meet new people and create new experiences that contribute to your growth and how you respond to social situations.


Benefits of pursuing a two-year college program


1. Entrance requirements 

Most two-year schools have open enrollment policies which is good for students who struggled in high school. SATs are not required.


2. Costs and time

Tuition is lower at the two-year colleges, which will save the student or his family a considerable amount of money. Most two-year colleges do not have living facilities on campus, so students will live in the local area. 

In this economy of inflation and increased tuition costs, it?s a big factor that students can afford a proper education and save at the same time. Pursuing a two-year degree instead of four can help save at least half of what you pay for a bachelor's degree.

Aside from the tuition, there are other factors to consider like boarding, projects, research?basically your cost of living in the university or college.

With an associate?s degree, consider it as an early bird ticket to the real life, which gives you more time to work on experiences, hobbies, and save money for the future.

Starting salaries might not be as big as that of a bachelor graduate, but you?ll have enough time to work on yourself and your career.


3. A degree in two years 

If a four-year college isn't right for you, look for associate degrees from community colleges and technical colleges that will help you advance your career.


4. Transfer programs 

Students who are unsure of what they want to do can take general education courses to find out their interests and abilities and then transfer as third year students at the university pursuing the major they desire.


5. Transition from high school

 If you didn't do well enough to get into a school of your choice, a community college can be a great transition. Remedial classes are available to help students prepare, and if you prove yourself with a high GPA at a community college, acceptance to a four-year school will be much easier.


6. Faculty 

Most two-year college classes are taught by people with a master's degree in their subject area (as opposed to graduate students in many universities) and the teacher-pupil ratio is usually smaller.


7. Great for nontraditional students 

Community colleges offer flexible scheduling, making it possible for students to both work and take courses.


8. Close to home

 If you're not ready to leave home or can't afford to do so, look at nearby community colleges.


9. Varying salaries

According to CNN, A four-year education is not always the ticket to a swollen bank account, and asserts the fact that many of the current paying jobs in the United States solely require an associate degree. The following jobs pay associate degree holders more money or equivalent to a bachelor?s degree:


? Computer Network Specialist: Average income of $55,000

? Nuclear Technician: Average income of $59,200

? Dental Hygienist: Average income of $58,350

? Radiation Therapist: Average income of $57,700

? Fashion designer: Average income of $55,840

? Aerospace engineering and operations technician: Average income of $52,500

? Diagnostic medical sonographer: Average income of $52,490

? Registered nurse: Average income of $52,330

? Engineering technician: Average income of $49,440


You can get an excellent education from either a two- or four-year college. Which college you choose should be determined by your personal career goals, your academic history, and your available finances. As you begin to understand what your options are, your decisions will become a little bit clearer and you will soon be on your way to the future!


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By OSAU Angel