Five reasons to get your start at a community college

Making the jump to college is a big life decision, and we’re here to help. We’ve compiled the top five reasons why getting your start at a community college is a smart choice.

1: High-quality education at one-third the cost

Take your first two years at a community college and you may save more than $9,000 on your degree. At TJC, tuition is about one-third the cost of tuition at a state university, and this means less debt and less strain on you and your family’s finances. 

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2: Courses are nearly identical to a four-year college

Both community colleges and universities in Texas are governed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which means the classes at TJC are the same quality as those at a 4-year school. In fact, many of our professors also teach courses at other neighboring universities, and full-time faculty at TJC teach more than 70 percent of our courses.

Dr. Cliff Boucher, TJC’s department chair for Life Sciences and Agriculture, has taught at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of Michigan, Harvard, UT Tyler and TJC.

“I don’t teach classes at TJC any differently than I did at Harvard,” Dr. Boucher said. “I have always taught courses the same. The same level of rigor and with the same level of energy and enthusiasm."

“I don’t teach classes at TJC any differently than I did at Harvard"

- Dr. Cliff Boucher, Professor, Biology

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3: Community college grads earn more

A study done by Georgetown University showed that community college grads right out of school make more than graduates of four-year universities. On average, grads with associate degrees earn about $500,000 more over the course of their lifetime than high school graduates. 

And there’s no reason to stop at an associate degree. Universities, both public and private, value community graduates for their ability to complete. In a recent survey done by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than half of four-year graduates attended a two-year institution

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4: Ease of transfer

TJC follows Texas’ common course numbering system, so many of your courses are guaranteed to transfer to other Texas institutions. By law, If you complete the core requirements at TJC you don’t have to take the four-year institution’s core, even if the core curriculum is very different. 

TJC also has articulation agreements with other universities, which allows our courses to transfer seamlessly for certain degrees. UT Tyler, Baylor University, and Stephen F. Austin State University have special pathways for students who intend to transfer.

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5: More playing time and performance opportunities

Athletes, musicians and performers who come to TJC have more opportunity for playing time than students at a four-year college. At a higher-level institution, you may not be able to step on stage or on the field until your junior or senior year. 

"A student who goes to a large four-year school will probably have no opportunity until their junior or senior year because they’re in competition with graduate and upper-level students," TJC Theatre Professor Dr. David Crawford said.

"The student who comes to TJC will stand a far greater opportunity of being on stage in all areas of performance, multiple times in two years."

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