Community College vs. University for Mechanical Engineering

In summary, the community college route is a good option if you are concerned about not having as many opportunities as someone who goes to a four-year university. The community college is cheaper, and you can still graduate in four years without any debt.
  • #1
Peculiar0Pencil
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Hia! I was wondering about the benefits of different schools. I will be starting school at a four-year university to pursue a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, and am concerned about going into debt. I could instead go to community college and then transfer, but I'm worried that I will not have as many opportunities. What do you think?
 
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  • #2
Why do you think you would not have as many opportunities? Most students don't even do internships until the summer after their second year. And there's plenty of internships for community college students. It helped me a lot by going to a community college for my first two years because the professors were focused more on teaching, and they would give me a lot of advice on how to study. That really helped shape my study skills.

You can also always transfer after your first year.

By the way, a lot of professors at my school went to a community college first and then got Ph.D's in their field.
 
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  • #3
The community college is the better plan if you look at how the required courses line up and can still graduate in 4 years without any debt.

Not only is tuition much cheaper, but many students save around $12,000 per year by living at home compared with living away from home at university.

The value of the degree does not depend on where you take the first two years of coursework. Often, students get much more careful attention at the community college.
 
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  • #4
Peculiar0Pencil said:
Hia! I was wondering about the benefits of different schools. I will be starting school at a four-year university to pursue a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, and am concerned about going into debt. I could instead go to community college and then transfer, but I'm worried that I will not have as many opportunities. What do you think?

I did the community college route. I started with arithmetic at the cc (older student), and I transferred to a 4 year recently as a math major. I had small class sizes. There were no more than 40 students per class. During the Calculus series and above, only a maximum of 10 students stayed. My linear Algebra had 5 students after midterms.
I got to know my professors really well. I did a few internships (Space X/ Caltech). If I ever needed help, I would personally ask the teachers. Never needed to go to the tutoring lab.

My only concern would be lack of rigor. I learned early, which teacher gives out a grade and which one makes you earn it. As a result, I made the habit of taking classes at two CC. I always enrolled in the stem class which offered the most rigor.

My GPA suffered a bit. I ended up transferring with a 3.7 ,but I was really happy. I am a bit better prepared than my peers (not smarter).

If you do end up going the CC, always take the teachers that are going to help you grow as a person and intellectually.

There is another reason to consider CC besides cost:

Many young students are still growing up and figuring out who they are. Often times, many students become acquainted with "real dating" for the first time. I am sure you know what this entails. Many people believe they want to study A, but they want to study B later down the road. The CC is more forgiving in this aspect. Let's not forget the maturity aspect.
 
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  • #5
MidgetDwarf explained this:
My only concern would be lack of rigor. I learned early, which teacher gives out a grade and which one makes you earn it. As a result, I made the habit of taking classes at two CC. I always enrolled in the stem class which offered the most rigor.
Be careful about trying to do things that way. Some districts or community colleges may not allow it. Ask at the colleges.
 
  • #6
CC is a (usually) good, economical way of getting required courses for the 1st & 2nd years. Just check with your graduating university (ask an academic advisor...or two) before to verify that the CC courses you take are equivalent and will indeed transfer to the BSME degree program.
 
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Related to Community College vs. University for Mechanical Engineering

1. What is the main difference between a community college and a university for mechanical engineering?

The main difference between a community college and a university for mechanical engineering is the level of education and degree offered. Community colleges typically offer associate degrees or certificates, while universities offer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Additionally, universities usually have more advanced and specialized courses and research opportunities.

2. Is one option better than the other for pursuing a career in mechanical engineering?

There is no clear answer to this question as it ultimately depends on your personal goals and circumstances. Community colleges may be a more affordable and accessible option for some students, while universities may offer more opportunities for research and networking. It is important to research and consider both options carefully to determine which one aligns with your career goals.

3. Can credits from a community college be transferred to a university for a mechanical engineering degree?

Yes, many universities have transfer agreements with community colleges, allowing students to transfer credits towards a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. However, it is important to check with the specific university and program to ensure that the credits will transfer and meet the necessary requirements.

4. Are the job prospects the same for graduates of community colleges and universities in the field of mechanical engineering?

The job prospects for graduates of community colleges and universities in mechanical engineering are generally similar. Both types of institutions can provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a career in this field. However, those with higher degrees, such as a master's or doctoral degree, may have more opportunities for advancement and higher salaries.

5. What factors should I consider when deciding between a community college and a university for mechanical engineering?

Some factors to consider when deciding between a community college and a university for mechanical engineering include your budget, academic goals, location, and career aspirations. It is important to research and compare the programs, curriculum, and resources available at both types of institutions to determine which one is the best fit for you.

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