I entered a University straight out of high school. I struggled to balance full time school and 3 part time jobs, and failed. I switched to a community college after being placed on a year-long academic suspension from that university. It was then I realized that for general education courses needed for ANY degree, it doesn't matter WHERE you take them, as long as they transfer! I sure wish I would have known that when I got out of high school, because I would have saved at LEAST $20,000! While it is prestigious to go to a desired University or College, if you don't have a full-ride scholarship, I HIGHLY suggest starting at a community college for your general education classes. Check with the college or university you WANT to attend and receive your degree from and find out what gen. ed. classes are needed for your degree, and make sure they will transfer there from the community college you plan to attend. Then take as many as you can from the community college first. This serves several purposes. First of all, it will save you money, BIG TIME! The tuition costs for me were cut in half for the same courses at the university. Second, you are more likely to get accepted to your school of choice after attending a community college, provided you do well. The school you want to attend can look at your records and see that you are serious about school, not just a party person looking for fun away from home. They want good students to keep their numbers high! Third, it reduces the amount of loans you have to take out. I ended up maxing out my undergrad student loans before I even finished because I started out at the university, AND failed on top of that! I would have been more successful at a community college, spent half the money, and not had as much in loans to pay back now. Fourth, community colleges are local, so you won't be paying for room and board expenses on top of tuition. Can't live at home? Usually you can find good deals on rent and many roommates to share a living space with while you go. Besides, if you are busy with work and school, it doesn't matter much who you live with because you're rarely there! Moral of the story: Save money, start at a community college!