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.
View the most popular articles in Choosing a School:
Finding a community college can be a challenging prospect today, with many states boasting a large number of colleges that all promise the best training for today's workforce. Students may be hard-pressed to find reliable information about the various colleges in their areas, with little concrete information provided outside of the institutions themselves.  While Community College Review's goal is to provide students with concrete, valuable information on individual community colleges, a recent ranking of community colleges is stirring both appreciation and controversy. 

One publication, Washington Monthly, has created a simple ranking system of the top community colleges in the country.  Which community colleges are at the top of the list – and do the Washington Monthly’s rankings truly matter? 
The Rankings and the Controversy
Washington Monthly recently released its most recent rankings on community colleges across the country to the delight of many prospective students – and the chagrin of many educators who know better than to heed rankings alone when choosing a college. The publication offers a listing of the top 50 community colleges in the nation, based on a wide range of criteria and information taken from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement.
Interestingly, CCSSE is one of the most vocal opponents to Washington Monthly's rankings. In a press release issued shortly after the publication of the rankings, CCSSE director Kay McClenney states, “We commend the Washington Monthly for recognizing the importance of community colleges to America’s future, and we have long sought to prompt a redefinition
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Many high school students are advised to begin their college career at a community college for cost or academic reasons. However, the transfer process from a two-year college to a four-year university can be confusing at best, with conflicting requirements that may make a degree that much more elusive. The result is that many students never end up graduating at all and some don't even make it into the hallowed ivy walls of a university in the first place.

California Higher Education Bill
The state of California is hoping to change all the confusion, thanks to legislation intended to make the transfer process much easier and more streamlined. A report at the Chronicle of Higher Education explains the legislation, which is slated to go into effect during the fall of 2011. The bill was approved in the state senate this month, and it is expected that Governor Schwarzenegger will sign the bill into law.
The California bill requires community colleges to offer a redesigned associate's degree. Students who complete the degree would be guaranteed admission into one of California State University campuses, where they could complete a bachelor's degree in 60 credit hours or less. The purpose of the bill is to increase the number of students who successfully transfer from a community college to a four-year university and come out of the process with a degree in hand.
Models to Follow
The California legislation is modeled after similar program in Florida and Texas, indicating a national movement toward
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Earning a bachelor’s business degree can pay off in dividends, with staff accountants generating $40,000 annually to financial controllers earning a median salary of $70,000. If you are a community college student considering a career in business, there’s good news on the horizon! Some of America’s best business programs have partnered with local community colleges, offering transfer students guaranteed admissions into business schools at four-year universities.     

Building Bridges Between Community Colleges and Business Schools
Across the country, more community colleges and business schools are signing articulation agreements, guaranteeing admissions for transfer students who meet the requirements. 
For example, Carroll Community College (CCC), located in Westminster, Maryland, signed a transfer agreement with Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School in November of 2009. The agreement “assures that qualified community college students can enter Johns Hopkins without the loss of credit and work on a four-year degree while entering with junior status.” With this agreement, community college students at Carroll have a specific outline regarding which courses to take and how they will transfer towards a B.S. Business. 
In addition, through this agreement, students of Carroll Community College who intend to pursue a degree with the Carey Business School can access joint programs, resources, and advisors. 
According to CCC’s dean of Mathematics, Business, and Sciences, Judy Coen, “The new agreement is indicative of a trend among independent and private colleges that community college students are of high caliber and that articulation agreements make good sense.”
Articulation from Maryland to Connecticut
In March of 2010, the University of
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As community colleges struggle with over-crowding and a lack of funding, for-profit colleges are offering to help, giving community college students the opportunity to earn transferable credits at low tuition rates.

Kaplan’s Online Courses Can Count Towards Community College Degrees
The Wall Street Journal reports that Kaplan University, a for-profit college owned by the Washington Post Co., is offering California community college students the option of taking courses at its online schools. These credits can be applied towards a degree at their home campuses.
In addition, the newly created Community College Connections program will allow students to take Kaplan’s online courses at a 42% discount, which will make the cost of courses similar to that of a community college course.
Kaplan will also allow graduates of California’s community colleges to transfer to one of its degree programs and complete their bachelor’s degrees at a 10% discount, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Community College Credits Count Towards B.A. Degrees at Bridgepoint
Meanwhile, Ashford University, which is operated by Bridgepoint Education Inc., is signing articulation agreements with a number of community colleges and public universities and colleges. The articulation agreements usually outline that students transferring from the community college or public university may transfer up to 90 credits towards earning their degrees from Ashford University.
A press release issued by Bridgepoint indicates that Ashford University has signed 38 such articulation agreements and formed alliances with 138 community colleges and four-year universities.
Bridgepoint Education, Inc. offers its courses through two institutions – Ashford University
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Years ago, community college students were most likely to transfer to state colleges or universities. But today, community college graduates are increasingly found at private and highly selective four-year colleges.

Experts say the change is likely a result of an increased recognition of the value of a diverse student body, the pressure that some small colleges are feeling to bring in tuition-paying students during this economic downturn, and an awareness from college administrators that community college transfer students often bring a special set of strengths with them to four-year institutions.
Why Private Colleges and Universities are Recruiting Community College Students
Increasing Diversity
University of Virginia sociology professor Josipa Roksa tells the USA Today that selective private colleges specifically recruit community college graduates because these transfer students can often help with their campus diversity “in terms of race and socioeconomic status.
Tatiana Melguizo, an education professor at the University of Southern California, says that her university has been working hard to increase its population of minority students, and that USC has found that accepting transfer students is a good way to accomplish the goal. The university, Melguizo tells USA Today, has found that “Community college transfers [are] the best deals. They're motivated, they're more likely to graduate, and they're relatively cheap" for the college to educate.
Seeking Tuition Revenue
Financial considerations may also be driving the surge of private institutions that are courting community college transfers. Small private colleges that depend largely on student tuition to stay afloat are finding that
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Recent Articles
November 05, 2015
More and more, students are choosing to go to community college over traditional four-year universities but community colleges still have a bad reputation. Learn why in this informative article.
September 15, 2015
While study abroad has long been considered an option only for students at four-year colleges and universities, there are actually many options for community college students who would like to experience studying in another country.
August 06, 2015
Recently, a measure passed that allows community colleges in California to offer 4 year degrees. Until now such offerings have been the sole province of other institutions. Now, the game has changed.
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.