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COMMUNITY COLLEGE: The Overlooked Option


Wondering how to:

  • Pack a great college experience into four years,
  • Get a quality education, and
  • Save money at the same time?

Consider starting at a community college. It’s an option students often overlook. They assume that community college isn’t up to the standards of a four year college education. Research is showing they’re wrong.

Students who spend their first two years at a community colleges, then to on to graduate from four year colleges, are as well prepared academically as those who go directly to four year colleges. That’s the finding of a national study conducted by researchers at Penn State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. This held true even when community college students were pitted against students from some of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. The reasons?

  • Qualified faculty: Educators at community college have the same credentials as those at four year colleges
  • Dedication to teaching: Teachers at community college can focus on teaching since they are not pressured to publish or conduct research that takes away time from their craft.
  • Small classes: Community colleges are great places for students who like small classes and individualized attention.

These benefits come at solid cost savings. The tuition at a community college is about half that of public four year college.

Other advantages to a community college? You can:

  • Test your interests without racking up big bills.
  • Build remedial skills, before taking the plunge at a university.
  • Take job-training courses that lead to a career in two years

In the past, community college meant you’d sacrifice some of the college experience—for example, many of them have no dorms. But these days while they may not be living on campus, community college students don’t have to sacrifice social activities. Many community colleges offer plenty of different clubs and activities for its students to join and get involved in.

An important issue for those wanting to start at a community college: Make sure your credits will transfer to a four year college. Look into the community college articulation agreements with four year colleges you might eventually attend. These agreements spell out courses and programs you must complete to enter the four year college as a junior.

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