Should I do community college before university?

Hi. I’m going to be a senior this August and apart of the 2025 graduating class. I’m currently trying to get my private pilot’s license and I want to go to ASU or Embry-Riddle after a gap year.

Would it be a financially smarter decision to go to community college before doing a four-year college? I’m taking a gap year no matter what because of family difficulties and just in case I need more time for my private license.

Callum,

I think that’s a great idea. CCs can provide a solid education and save you tens of thousands so why not?

That said whatever you save will be spent at Riddle or ASU so my question is why? The airlines neither desire nor require an aviation degree and they’re famously very expensive. Further an aviation degree provides no backup should flying not work out either by choice or circumstance. While both are fine schools I think you’d be better served doing your core studies at a CC, then going elsewhere to get your degree in a subject you enjoy.

Adam

My parents want me to go to Riddle/University so I can get the certifications it provides. I’ve been looking around and what you’re saying is what a lot of others are saying too. And aviation is something I really want to do but it seems like a giant waste to me to have a degree I can’t use for anything else in cause I do fail somehow.

Let’s say I do CC and go somewhere else for my degree. Would I do ATP/a flight school after I get the degree? How do I convince my parents that this is a better plan?

Callum,

Obviously as this is ATPs forum we recommend ATP to do your flight training. ATP has been training pilots for the airlines for almost 40yrs and has literally had tens of thousands of grads hired over that time.

As for convincing your parents I don’t know them or their sensibilities but I would simply ask what they think you can do with an aviation degree? It won’t help you get hired by the airlines and it won’t help anywhere else so why the push?

Adam

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Callum,

I am staunchly against aviation degrees, they simply have no value outside of being a pilot and the airlines do not require aviation degrees in any way. In fact, most pilots that I know have degrees in something other than aviation.

I am a big fan of college first, then flight training. There is a certain maturity that comes with college and age that we find is helpful to flight students.

I know you have your reasons for taking a year off, but I urge caution with this approach. It is often hard for people to restart their education once they begin working. If at all possible, I urge you to continue with your education.

Chris

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Callum,

Maybe you can show your parents the advice on the forum! All of us mentors are ATP alumni and current Airline pilots. We have been in your shoes and talk to people like you every day about the most efficient path to where we are. We’re telling you, your route is both inefficient and expensive. Embry riddle used to be the only way, but that was 20 years ago!

Hannah

Hey now, some of us old timers went to ATP twenty years ago!

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:joy::joy: okay maybe 35 years ago……

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Hannah,

My dad is in the military and my mom wants me to use the GI bill to get the aviation degree. I know it comes down to a family discussion, but it would be smarter to use the GI bill for a better degree and do flight school after?

I want to be smart financially but my family is adamant on me using the GI bill for an aviation degree.

Callum,

Listen, I’m not going to lie. College and flight training are expensive, there’s no question about that. If your folks are picking up the check, I completely understand their desire to make it as painless as possible using their VA bennies. No one can say Riddle isn’t a great school with a great program and if you do the work you should be successful. Is it the best route? Obviously we don’t think so but having the support of your family is pretty important in this whole process and that should also be part of you decision.

Adam

Callum,

Which one?:

We all recommend attending college before pursuing an accelerated program like ATP’s for many reasons. Community college is not a bad start if you’re looking to get your general education credits and your PPL out of the way if you are eager. I’ve had many friends (non-pilots) that went the community college before figuring out what degree they would like to major in… it’s okay. I’ve seen people shun community colleges because they’re not “name brand schools” (i.e., University of Michigan, Florida State University, etc.), go somewhere affordable and start your studies. If YOU want to go to Embry-Riddle and acquire a degree, you can. If YOU want to go to Embry-Riddle and attend their aviation program, you can. Everything comes down to you and convincing your parents who may be closed-minded on any other idea may be challenging, but remind them that this is for your future and to better yourself.

Examining the statistics and facts about ATP reveals that the business has thrived for over 40 years, graduating tens of thousands of students since its inception. Attending a community college, followed by a “name brand” school, and then enrolling at ATP is a perfectly acceptable educational path.

Brady

Callum,

Okay that makes sense. They want you to take advantage of the GI bill benefits. Unfortunately for aviation, you can only do that going through an aviation university program.

Financially it makes sense. Just keep in mind, you typically graduate with a CFI or a commercial multi rating, you typically have to choose one or the other leaving extra ratings to do after graduation that isn’t budgeted.

Hannah