Is the Right College Close to Home?

Not all high school graduates are ready for a four-year university. While some know they want to enter the working world or a trade school, many more find community colleges offer an accessible and affordable starting point.

“Community colleges provide a great opportunity to explore,” says Amy Carzoli, AVP of Enrollment Services at McHenry County College (MCC). “With smaller class sizes, lower cost, and often amazing career services networks, a community college is a great option for anyone.”

Like most community colleges, MCC offers a variety of pathways into a fulfilling career. Best of all, it’s open to people of all ages. While a good portion of students will transfer to a four-year university, many more follow a career-oriented track. Career training, continuing professional education and workforce certification tracks include fields like fire service, health care, commercial transportation and manufacturing.

Prospective students should first sit down with their family and consider what they want out of their college experience. What academic programs, locations, and campus culture are most appealing? Also, consider what your financial picture looks like. Community college tends to be more affordable, more flexible with scheduling, and better accessible for students who are still contemplating their career path.

Even better, MCC accepts applications any time of year. About 33% of students enroll in August, says Carzoli.

For parents who want to guide their children through this time, Carzoli says the most helpful thing to do is to offer support, encouragement and guiding questions. Be a navigator through this complicated choice.

“Remember that community colleges are a perfect example of providing a variety of choices for students who may not be ready for a decision,” she says. “We also can provide a solid foundation of general education courses upon which someone builds at a university.”

McHenry County College is located at 8900 U.S. Hwy. 14, in Crystal Lake. Apply online at