Students choose community colleges for many reasons. They much cheaper than regular universities, but students are still eligible for financial aid. Many community colleges offer guaranteed admission to high school graduates. Classes have flexible schedules and small sizes. In my experience students are more likely to receive personalized attention from professors, which is a huge benefit when gathering needed references for transfer to a university. My community college professors also had real world experience in their field, and understood the needs of students who were also working adults.
I attended a community college twice. The first time was from 2000-2002, as a Social Science major preparing for transfer to a university. The second time was in 2009, to brush up on some skills. Admission in 2009 was an incredibly easy process. The application was a one page online form that asked only for basic information such as my address, other schools I had attended, and my preferred degree program. After hitting submit on my application form I was free to schedule my own classes or schedule an appointment with an academic advisor.
Community colleges are typically more self-service than regular universities. I quickly developed the habit of reading the student handbook and other materials to learn what degree requirements were, how financial aid worked, how to build a good schedule for my lifestyle and more. This was an especially important habit to develop as most community colleges have large student bodies and small, overworked administrative staffs.
My community college offered both daytime and nighttime courses, and arranged classes so that fulltime students could be on campus as little as two days a week. This meant that core courses had many class times to choose from, but there was not a lot of variety in available classes compared to a regular university. I found the coursework to be challenging and a good preparation for my university classes.
My community college offered few “extras.” There were a handful of student organizations on campus. There were honors societies for specific subjects like psychology and business, and also a branch of Phi Theta Kappa (the community college equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa.) There was no on-campus housing of any kind.
Attending a community college was a positive experience for me. It was a gradual introduction to college life, and provided a solid educational base that served me well through graduate school.