Studying in a community college and a university are different. Mostly, it is because of the environment. In the past few years, I have experienced both of these environments. Now, I am a student at Arizona State University. Why I did I choose the Arizona State University? Well, the Arizona State University is one of the biggest public university in the nation. Also, previously, I had searched for business schools that offer Supply Chain Managements major. Most of the universities that offer Supply Chain Management major are in the East Coast. I know how extreme the winter in the this part of the U.S. is, thankfully I found Arizona, which is sunny throughout the year. I found Arizona State University with their W.P. Carey School Business which offers Supply Chain Management major. Also, the W.P. Carey School of Business has the recognition with their Supply Chain Management major, and here I am as a junior majoring in the Supply Chain Management.
Before going to Arizona State, I attended Bellevue Community College for two years. I went there because of the recommendation from one of my friend’s parent who used to live in the U.S. Prior to deciding to pursue my higher education in Bellevue Community College, I did research about the school, the living cost, and the city. It turned out that Bellevue is one of the safest city in the Washington State, and the Bellevue Community College has the least number of Indonesian students compare to other community colleges in Washington State. After two years in the Bellevue Community College, I graduated with a degree in Associated in Arts and Sciences.
By completing the community college in two years, I saved a lot of money, since they have cheaper tuition than universities. If you are curious, the community college tuition for international students is about $3,500 per quarter. On the other hand, for the university’s tuition, it can be $9,000 per quarter, although the rate varies between universities. Now, my tuition is around $13,600 per semester.
Community college has smaller classes and smaller amounts of students compared to university. It is like you are going to the high school all over again. It has around 40-50 students for each class that you take. While at my university, your lower division classes are about 100-200 students on average, even more. However, this is no surprise, since the school that I am currently attending is a public university.
Community college is relatively small in size. Hence, there are not as many people who attend the school. When you come to a community college, it does not feel crowded, making it a very effective place to study. However, universities in the U.S provide a different feeling. The university that I attend is like a small downtown, where there are many people walking, cycling, running, or skateboarding from class to class. It is very crowded. There were many times, when I have been hit by skateboarders or cyclists. I have to be really careful when walking in the campus area. On the other hand, the community college has less crowded people, and I think it is very comfortable to study.
Both community college and university provide organizations and activities that I can participate in. The former has many kinds of organizations but not as many as the university. Commonly, there will be an Indonesian Students Organization. The other common organizations are an international student organization, business organizations, cultural organizations and other student organizations that can benefit me in the future. It is good to be involved in the campus, because these kinds of activities provide an opportunity to meet new people, while being a great addition to my resume.
The hardest thing about university is the workload. It is doubled than that in community college. It is not rare for students to study or do projects until midnight on campus. For me, I haven’t stayed past midnight at school, even though some of my friends have done this a lot. Additionally, it is hard making a really close friend other than Indonesians. I think this is because each class there are always different people. I meet most of them only in the classes or group meetings. The other reason might be because I don’t live on campus, so it is hard to hang out with them outside the vicinity. The good side is I will meet new friends in each semester.
Being active in big classes isn’t as easy. For instance, asking questions to the professor in the middle of a lecture with most of the class is American students. Sometimes, I have to arrange the sentences before I ask something to the professor. While in community college, it was more comfortable to talk because the smaller size classes and not may people in the classes. The atmosphere was not as tense as in the university.
The photo was supplied by the author.