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.
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.
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.
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, engineering and mathematics, are also more abundantly available at community colleges today, with plenty of hiring opportunities coming out of school in engineering and technical fields. In addition, students unsure of what they want to study in college can fulfill basic requirements at a community college before selecting a degree program at the same school or at a four-year institution.
Fast Track to Career
The time to complete a community college degree program is generally two years, although some career tracks can be completed even faster. This allows students in need of a steady paycheck to finish their training fast and move onto a lucrative position in their field. For adults in need of re-training due to cuts in their field, this fast track to a career can be a very practical option in finding work in a new field.
According to KSL News Radio, many adults in search of the “hot” jobs in their local market find the best track through local community colleges. These schools have perfected the art of partnering with local businesses in recent years to ensure training programs are customized to the current demands of the local job market. Businesses working with community colleges will be much more likely to look at the school’s graduates for their hiring needs.
Community colleges have also been working hard to partner with four-year schools in their area to ensure students that begin their academics at a two-year school enjoy a seamless transition to a four-year college or university. Transfer agreements are becoming a popular option for students that want to begin higher education at a community college, with the goal of finishing their degree program at a four-year school, according to Yahoo Voices. This option allows students to save money and remain at home for an extra two years, without sacrificing any time on the pursuit of their baccalaureate degree.
The lack of campus life at a community college used to be a major drawback to a two-year school, but that is no longer the case. Today, more community colleges are adding campus housing to their school experience, offering students access to college life 24/7. In addition, community colleges are increasing their opportunities for students to take part in athletics, clubs, and other activities outside the classroom right on campus. In fact, some two-year schools are now actively recruiting student-athletes from other areas, diversifying the student body and increasing the need for available housing on campus.
In the past, many have seen community colleges as second-rate institutions of higher education that don’t measure up to their four-year counterparts in terms of academic quality. However, recent facts about community colleges refute that attitude. Community colleges are often accredited by the same agencies that accredit four-year schools. In addition, the instructors at community colleges are generally professors committed to the art of teaching. In contrast, many classes at four-year schools could be taught by teaching assistants or professors more interested in research projects than class instruction.
Variety of Services
Community colleges typically offer a wealth of services to students, from remedial classes to bring struggling students up to speed to financial aid and even healthcare options. Students that become informed of the various services and take full advantage of what is available often make the most of their community college experience.
In the midst of many opportunities and benefits now available at community colleges, one thing remains the same. These schools still provide a good value for students interested in higher education, with much lower tuition rates than their four-year counterparts. Whether community college is your end goal for your career prospects, or another step in your academic career, the ROI on a community college education cannot be beat.
While community college may not be the right choice for everyone, these schools are meeting more needs than ever before. With an increased focus on the role of community colleges in the 21st century marketplace, these institutions are sure to continue their efforts to provide the best possible education to their students.
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