My whole life I have wanted to go to college in the United States. I wanted the whole college experience- the football games, joining a sorority, living in a dorm, making lifelong friends; I wanted it all. There was just one thing standing in my way: the cost.
Cost is one of the main reasons I chose to attend community college. Coming from Australia, people do not save money to attend college. First of all, the cost of attending university in Australia is significantly lower than in the United States Secondly, we are able to take out a government loan, which has little to no interest on it. Try as I might there was just no way to come up with the funds necessary to attend school in the United States.
I decided in 2017 I would come to the United States as an au pair. I wouldn’t be going to college, but I would still get the experience of living in the United States for a year or two. I hoped I could take one or two classes at the college closest to me, University of Maryland. Upon further inspection, I sadly realized that this was not a feasible option, as I would still be required to pay out of state tuition. That’s when I decided I would look into community college.
Montgomery College was the closest community college to me, and I was fortunate enough to be able to get in state tuition, making it a reasonably affordable option. I did a mix of on campus classes and online classes, to fit in around my work schedule. I got involved in a number of different on campus volunteering activities, to help me meet people and better my resume. I had the goal of attaining an Associate’s degree, and then realized I would be able to save money and afford to do the 1.5-2 years I would need to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. I was able to take over 60 credits in two years at Montgomery College, almost all of which will transfer! I did not receive my Associate’s degree, as I changed my mind about which major I would like to pursue a few times, so I did not have all the credits to graduate.
I have not had any of my dream college experiences so far, but it has helped me to be able to gain acceptance into a number of different colleges, most of which I would not have gotten into straight out of high school to begin with! I am so excited for the next chapter in my schooling career at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, and I can honestly say it was possible only because I attended community college. I know Rutgers is going to bring me everything I have dreamed of, and I cannot wait to start in the Fall!
If you are needing to fit school around your job, or wanting to save money, I would recommend attending community college. I have found most the professors to be fantastic, and have loved the flexibility of online classes. There are so many opportunities to still get involved in, and by participating in on campus opportunities you can boost your chances of getting into colleges you otherwise might not have. Have I loved my community college experience? No, but I have genuinely loved taking classes and preparing for my future. Through taking classes I have found out what subjects I like and dislike, and have decided on a career path that I am excited about. I am grateful I had the opportunity to go to community college, as it has made my dream of attending college in the United States possible!
As always, thanks for reading!