Do you know if you should try going to a Junior College instead of going straight into a State College or University? Read this article to discover the pros and cons of attending a Jr.College vs. State College or University.

A good first step for any college-bound student is to list your priorities.

  • Does cost matter? 
  • How about student-teacher ratio? 
  • Are you looking for a diverse social scene? 
  • What about sports? 
  • Have you outlined your academic goals?

Once you have answered the above questions to help you produce your own personal college profile, you can look around at your options. And while some may want to stay near home and attend a local school, you pretty much can send in a college application to any college or university in the world. So is attending a junior college better, or is jumping into a university scene right for you?

First of all, the answer may not be an either or question, because many people choose to first go to a junior college for a certificate or an associate's degree and then transfer to university to finish their academic goals. Junior colleges can be a great first step in anyone's academic career. Consider a junior college if any of the following apply:

  1. You are not sure you want to attend a four-year institution. 
  2. You are not sure what you wish to study. 
  3. You want to jump right into your field of study and your junior college of choice has a stellar program. 
  4. Cost is an issue.

If you are not sure you want to attend school for four years, why throw money away? Start out at a junior college level as they have many certificates and associate's degrees that many employers require. Secondly, if you are not sure what you wish to study, junior colleges have a small teacher-student ratio and usually excel at helping students find their niche. Thirdly, if your junior college has a wonderful program of exactly what you want to study, many times it is better to start on a junior college level as you may have to wait until you are an upper-classman in a university setting to be able to get the hands-on experience you can jump into on the junior college level. And finally, if cost is an issue, more often than not, junior colleges are much less expensive.

However there are some cons related to junior college life as well. Junior colleges are smaller than universities and therefore all the following are limited: 

  • Social opportunities 
  • Sports and recreation 
  • Academic programs 
  • Facilities (such as libraries) and research 
  • Housing

But as mentioned above, there are an entire world of colleges and universities to choose from, with many having their own specialties. A final tip to remember, if you decide that you wish to begin at a junior college and then later head to a university, know that not all college credit transfers perfectly. If you have an idea of which universities you want to attend, check out which credits would be most advantageous to take at the junior college so that you do not have to do a lot of repeat work. Colleges and universities are making it easier and easier to transfer credits, but it is always good to double check.

If you sit down, determine what you want, then it is only a matter of time and research before you find the type of higher education you are looking for. And maybe a junior college is your perfect answer.