Choosing a School

Whether you are a high school student, an adult student, or someone looking for retraining, we have all the resources you need to make an educated choice about the right community college for you. We’ll compare community colleges to other institutions of higher education, explore college rankings and the accreditation system, and provide useful tips to ensure your community college credits transfer easily.
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Community colleges have been diversifying their student populations in recent years to include students from other states and even other countries. As some two-year schools become known for specific programs, transfer agreements with four-year institutions and even partnerships with local businesses, their appeal is expanding as well. International students interested in a U.S. community college may enjoy a number of benefits, but face unique challenges in making their higher education dreams a reality.
 
Why International Students Choose Community College
 
There are a number of reasons why international students are looking at community colleges today, according to a report at U.S. News, including:
 
       ·      Lower Tuition Rates – Students from a distance find affordable higher education through America’s community college system. For example, U.S. News and World Report cites the average cost of 24 credits from Diablo Community College in California at around $6,000, while the same number of credits at San Jose State University, a neighboring four-year school, is around $16,500 for the same number of credits.
 
       ·      Transfer Options – Many community colleges across the country now have transfer agreements with four-year schools, ensuring students that begin their education in a two-year program can finish their baccalaureate degree at a nearby institution.
 
       ·      Smoother Transition – Students coming from other countries often find community college is an easier transition to the American way of life. Many community colleges provide English language courses and other services to help . . . read more

The perception of the value of a college degree appears to be evolving. As some students and their parents begin to focus on their return on investment (ROI), they are beginning to realize that graduating from a prestigious four-year school isn’t as glamorous as it seems. In addition, rising concern over increasing student debt has spurred questions about the best path to a profession. As the exploration continues, community colleges are starting to be seen as offering the superior ROI for many students today.
 
The Value of a Four-Year Degree
 
PolicyMic reports on a recent analysis that looked at 1,248 four-year colleges and universities across the country. The study showed 28 percent of those four-year schools offered a negative ROI, which means students would have been better off financially if they had not gone to school at all!  However, if those students had started their higher education at a community college and then transferred to a four-year school for their last two years, the negative ROI would have been reduced to 11.5 percent.
 
The best ROI from four-year schools often involved engineering programs. Schools like Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Tech, MIT and Cal Tech reflect that trend. Ivy League schools also made the list for positive ROIs, demonstrating that high admission standards and a tradition of success do contribute to the value of a postsecondary education. Other four-year schools did not always fare as well. For example, the last school on the list, Savannah College of Art and . . . read more

Community college have received plenty of attention in recent years, due to a combination of an economic slowdown and renewed interest by the current administration in these institutions. Changes to community colleges in recent years have also contributed to the increased demand for two-year degrees. Check out these 10 reasons why your local community college might be a good choice in higher education today.
 
Easier Admission
With many four-year colleges becoming increasingly competitive in their admission requirements, community colleges still offer opportunities for postsecondary education even if a student’s high school grades weren’t exactly stellar. Education.com explains these schools typically offer placement examinations prior to enrollment to help students ascertain which introductory courses will be better suited to their needs. Students that require additional instruction prior to the rigors of a college curriculum will find most schools offer remedial education to help them bone up on challenging subjects.
 
Flexibility
Community colleges usually offer more flexible scheduling options than traditional four-year schools, with both night and weekend classes available. In addition, the website for Brookhaven College explains that students have the option of taking classes full or part-time, depending on what their current schedule allows. This makes it much easier for adult students with family or professional responsibilities to work their education pursuit around the rest of their obligations.
 
Degree Options
Community colleges offer more degree options than ever before, with a wealth of choices available for in-demand industries like healthcare. STEM subjects, which include science, technology, . . . read more

While four-year colleges and universities have traditionally been the path to the future for many high school graduates, business leaders and lawmakers are presenting a new option for today’s youth. Community colleges are becoming more than an alternative means of education; they are quickly advancing as a core element in a competitive 21st century workforce. As the need for highly skilled employees continues to increase, many are beginning to recognize the fact that community colleges may be the solution that meets that need best.
 
The President’s Take on Community Colleges
 
In 2010, President Obama stated that jobs requiring an associate degree were expected to grow at twice the rate of positions that could be obtained without any college experience in the coming years. The President also said that if community colleges could not train a sufficient number of workers to fill open positions, the jobs would have to be filled by outsourcing, according to a report at the White House website. To meet the needs of the workforce and prevent outsourcing, the President set an ambitious goal to graduate an additional five million students from community colleges by 2020.
 
Today, U.S. News and World Report states that the need for community college graduates continues. According to the report, around 600,000 jobs remain unfilled in the United States because companies cannot find skilled workers to hire. Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, stated in written testimony to the House Committee on Education and . . . read more

Community college has traditionally been seen as a second-rate postsecondary education – the 13th grade, according to some high school seniors. However, numerous changes to the system and the economy have dramatically altered the ways these institutions are viewed today. Students are now using community colleges as viable stepping stones for four-year degrees or rewarding careers. Even students that have earned their baccalaureate are returning to community college to pursue practical career training. Statistics appear to be supporting the idea that community college has become an accepted mode of higher education used to help students reach their goals.

Studies Support Community College Start
 
The Cavalier Daily reports on recent findings from the National Student Clearinghouse involving four-year completion rates for community college students. The results showed the majority of students who transferred from a community college to a four-year school finished their baccalaureate degree. This negates previous concerns that community college students were less apt to succeed in their pursuit of four-year degrees.
 
According to Inside Higher Ed, the National Student Clearinghouse found that 60 percent of community college students who transferred to four-year schools earned a bachelor degree within those four years. Students that earned their associate degree prior to transfer performed even better, with 71 percent earning a four-year degree during that same time frame. Additional community college grads remained enrolled in their four-year institution after four years, indicating they were still on track for a completed degree program.
 
“It shows that community colleges have an important . . . read more
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Choosing a School

Getting Started

This section provides an in depth look at choosing the right community college. We’ll cover the reasons why community college is a good choice and the best steps to take when making your decision. Find tips and resources to aid in your search for the perfect school.

Community vs. Other Colleges

With so many higher education options, we compare community colleges against other institutions to help you find the best option for your needs. We’ll look at how community colleges are outperforming 4-year schools, study the latest data on the ROI of community colleges and explore why more students are turning to them.

College Rankings & Accreditation

Are you attending one of the best community colleges? Do rankings matter? From the best schools in the US to those losing accreditation, we’ll provide you with the latest resources on community college rankings.

Transfer Process

Many community college students transfer to four-year institutions. Be prepared to make a swift and easy transfer with these articles. Determine the most transfer-friendly universities, learn why some 4-year schools are limiting transfer students, and get tips on ensuring your credits go with you.