How Studying at a Community College helps at University

8.13.20 How Studying at Iowa Valley Helped Me at Iowa State

Hanging out on the quad? Check. Attending games and events with your roommates? Check. Living on campus? Check. There is a misconception that for you to have a true college experience, you must attend a 4-year university. While that is a great choice for some people, it isn’t the only choice. Studying at a community college might be just what you need to set yourself up for success in your education and career, while still experiencing the college life. 

Gentle transition to college 

Have you ever built something up so much in your mind that when you got around to experiencing it, the reality is so far removed from your expectations that you couldn’t enjoy it? We aren’t saying that will be your experience. But what we ARE saying is that if you aren’t sure that a university is up your alley, a community college may be the solution. Small class sizes make it easy to participate in class discussions, and since you aren’t sitting in a huge lecture hall, you build a relationship with your professors that make hitting them up with questions much easier. 

Tackle your general education courses 

Community colleges offer courses for high school students, called concurrent enrollment (CEP) within their area, which gives you a jump on those gen. eds. Check out CEP courses offered at Ellsworth and Marshalltown. Not only can you start early, but you also get more bang for your buck. Students at Iowa Valley tend to graduate with an average of $10,000 less debt than students taking the same or similar coursework at 4-year institutions. Many who graduate from community colleges even do so debt-free! The transfer from Iowa Valley schools to universities is seamless due to agreements with all three regent universities in Iowa as well as most private schools in the state. Learn more about our Admission Partnership Program at Ellsworth and Marshalltown. 

Solidify your career path 

Community colleges offer the opportunity to sample many career paths like an ice cream shop in the summertime. You can take classes from Equine science to athletic training to welding to dental assisting. Your instructors likely have real-world experience so you will get an inside look at what you will be doing each day in your chosen field. Plus, they may even be able to help you network when it comes time to look for your first post-college job! 


The culture at community colleges tends to be a little more relaxed and personalized, which has many benefits. One of which is fostering an environment to learn some life hacks to make studying a little easier. You can ask the experts in the Hub at Ellsworth or in the Student Success Center at Marshalltown for their tips and tricks for studying. Our favorite student life hack? Audiobooks!  Grapes of Wrath is a little more appealing to those who aren’t bookworms when someone else is reading it, plus you can get in your workout or do a little gaming while you listen. 

Going Away to School 

Even if you live across town, you can still go “away” to school by choosing to live in on-campus housing. From traditional dorms to apartment-style suites, we can offer a living situation for everyone. (Yes, you can still bring your laundry home to mom on the weekends!)   

No matter your reason for coming to a community college, whether it was due to the career exploration options, getting your gen eds under your belt, or even to buff up those life hacks, we know that it is a choice you’ll be glad you made! Already convinced? Apply to Ellsworth or Marshalltown today!