5 Replies - 2168 Views - Last Post: 07 June 2010 - 07:42 PM

Poll: Post Bacc - Community College or University? (3 member(s) have cast votes)

Community College or 4 year for post-Bacc?

  1. Community College (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. 4 yr. University (3 votes [100.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 100.00%

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#1 valor   User is offline

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Post Bacc - Community College or University?

Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:09 AM

Sorry if this is the wrong section. Please move to appropriate section if this isn't the right place.

Hello everyone. A little about myself first. I'm a 24 year old teacher. Graduated in 2008 with a degree in political science and started teaching soon after. I've been teaching for 2 years and well, although it isn't too bad of a field, I'm looking to get out ASAP. I love university and learning, so that's where I want to be. I'm still young, so I figure if I'm gonna go back I might as well go back while I'm still in my 20s with no responsibilities (kids/mortgage/ect..)

Why computer science though? Well I've been asking myself this too, I've thought about going back to school for many things but always seem to come back to this. I don't have any illusions that a computer science degree is gonna lead to a glamorous job. I took a year of programming in high school,a year of web design, plus a vocational class at the time to get A+ certified. My roommate/good friend majored in computer science through college and I know what he went through. Countless nights debugging and pulling his hair out over assignments. So I have an idea of what it'll be like. I've been teaching myself java over the past few months in my free time and well it's a great sense of accomplishment when I do get the assignments to work. I can see myself making a career out of it.

Now the problem is I'm torn whether I should take some classes at community college and try to break into the field, or go to university. I could take classes at a Community College for 1/3 of what tuition would be at the state university, but I'm worried about quality of the program/finding internships/weak career services. However it would be cheap and I'd have no problem living off my savings and taking 2 years worth of classes.

Now If I did go to university I would be going to the University of Texas in Austin, which supposedly has one of the top 10 CS programs. I have no doubt this is a top notch program. Tuition is expensive and after 2 semesters + 1 full summer session my savings will be depleted. I'd still need another year to complete the program so I may have to take on debt. However, I feel sometimes you have to spend money to make money. I'm sure I can land a relatively good job out of university with a degree from UT.

Right now I'm definitely leaning towards the university route. I guess I just want to see what other people think of this option. I know I already have a BA and could find a job at some smaller companies if I can show them I have some classes from a CC, but I'd like to have the career resources provided by a big state university and have that BS in Computer Science to get past the HR departments later in life.

So what do you think?

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Replies To: Post Bacc - Community College or University?

#2 WSL   User is offline

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Re: Post Bacc - Community College or University?

Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:06 AM

I would go to the 4 year University because of the networking and job opportunities that large schools offer. If you have the money and minimal responsibilities you should go for it!

If you enjoy CS so you should go for the higher quality education.

This post has been edited by WSL: 06 June 2010 - 11:07 AM

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#3 nooblet   User is offline

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Re: Post Bacc - Community College or University?

Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:21 PM

Please take my answer with a grain of salt. Just a fair warning, it is VERY bias. While anyone could have saved money attending a community college, the environment (especially the learning environment) is nowhere near the same level even if the education itself doesn't differ by much. I agree with WSL that the networking and other random opportunities (not just job related) that are available (if you actively seek and try to find them) is better and often times can make a huge difference.

As an employer, there are also more opportunities in my opinion on finding internships or work because you're part of a university as opposed to a community college. Now that doesn't mean it's impossible, it's just generally harder. That said, I'm pretty bias because I got to go to my ultimate dream school and the environment, learning experience, education, people, and just about everything else far exceeds what most schools have to offer. I can't say that other universities have the same level of opportunities available to them but I can say I strongly believe that if you're looking to do more than just attend classes, UT-Austin will be better for you.
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#4 IngeniousHax   User is offline

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Re: Post Bacc - Community College or University?

Posted 07 June 2010 - 11:14 AM

IDK, I would recommend attending a community college to get your gen ed's for the degree out of the way. I personally don't see the point in spending 7x as much for a class like history when you could save a ton of money by taking it at a community college.

Granted a university does offer all of the above stated, I like to save money. I will be transferring out to a university in about a year and spend another 2 years there to get a Bachelors.
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#5 nooblet   User is offline

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Re: Post Bacc - Community College or University?

Posted 07 June 2010 - 12:26 PM

View PostIngeniousHax, on 07 June 2010 - 10:14 AM, said:

IDK, I would recommend attending a community college to get your gen ed's for the degree out of the way. I personally don't see the point in spending 7x as much for a class like history when you could save a ton of money by taking it at a community college.

Granted a university does offer all of the above stated, I like to save money. I will be transferring out to a university in about a year and spend another 2 years there to get a Bachelors.


Correct. It really boils down to opportunity cost. I can't recommend everyone to take the route I did because everyone has different goals and will be different in different settings. I know a lot of people who go to school for the sake of just attending classes, hanging out with friends, and getting the degree. If that is your ultimate aim, I agree with IngeniousHax that you should go to a community college first instead and then transfer.

For me, I took advantage of everything the university had to offer so it would have been an utter waste to go to a community college given the opportunities I would have missed otherwise, opportunities that I consider worth justifying the price difference. To give you an idea of how big of a difference, COA altogether for a community college around here is probably about $5k/year including rent and other cost of living VS my university's COA which is closer to $50k/year when you average out all expenses, also includes rent and other cost of living as well. However the opportunities I've come across from being at the university has more than compensated for the cost. This is something I can't say for other students.

In the end, you must decide whether or not you'll be actively taking advantage of everything a university has to offer or not. If you don't, don't waste money unnecessarily. 99% of all college students don't take advantage of on campus resources and thus in most cases, it wouldn't be worthwhile. And no, using the computer lab by my definition is NOT taking advantage of on campus resources. Also another key difference is I'm very passionate about CS, and I am not sure how passionate you are personally about the field. If you have some interest but this is mainly a career move, then perhaps the community college route is better. I say this simply because coders who are passionate about their trade, pretty much program around the clock (at least everyone I know) and thus they will actively be taking advantage of everything that goes on naturally. Whatever you decide however, good luck.
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#6 valor   User is offline

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Re: Post Bacc - Community College or University?

Posted 07 June 2010 - 07:42 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. Because I already have a degree there is no need for me to take the general education requirements such as history/English. I already have those. I'll be taking purely CS classes along with some upper division maths I didn't take as a liberal arts major. I plan on taking advantage of all the resources at my university. Joining clubs, using the career services to find internships, taking campus jobs, ect... So I've decided to go the university route.
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