Historically, community colleges were established to help students develop vocational skills. However, in today’s academic environment, America’s top universities are specifically recruiting directly from community colleges!
Four-year universities traditionally evaluate a student’s overall GPA, standardized test scores, and extracurricular involvement. However, these high school progress points do not always accurately predict how a student will perform at the collegiate level.
Subsequently, a rising number of universities are specifically recruiting students who are enrolled or who have graduated from a community college. Many university leaders assert that community college students and graduates have accurately proved their collegiate skills and abilities. Therefore, students hoping to attend a four year institution may want to start at their local community college first to add a competitive edge to their application.
Why are Universities Seeking Community College Students?
Proof of Student Success and Excellence
While many students who are seeking affordable, convenient, and program-specific courses often pursue degree pathways through community colleges, many higher education leaders are striving to shift motivated community college students into a university education.
A central catalyst for this new focus on community college applicants is most notably based upon studies that reveal the soaring success rates among students who transfer from a two year institution to a four year school. In fact, as the Longview News Journal reveals, “Studies show that students who complete community college course work before going to four-year institutions tend to graduate at a higher rate than those who begin their college educations at four-year institutions.” Unlike a high school graduate’s short term results, community college experiences provide university admissions officers with a more accurate perception of an individual’s ability to handle complex and challenging academic endeavors.
Pressure to Compete in the Economy
Many experts believe that universities have an ulterior motive for recruiting community college students. According to The News and Observer, the recent economic recession has encouraged many cost-conscious students to choose more affordable community college programs over pricier university options. As a result, community colleges across the country are experiencing a remarkable enrollment boost, brining in increased revenues and funds to the local schools. While this is certainly beneficial for the community college supporters, universities are often losing the same students, leading to a decline in enrollment and a loss of funding.
A Desire to Boost Performance Statistics
Additionally, in order to boost their academic statistics, some universities are working diligently to improve their student graduation rates. For example, as The News and Observer further reveals, North Carolina Central University (UNCU) is one of many schools attempting to strengthen its graduation statistics.
According to the school’s survey of enrolled freshmen students in 2000, only 49 percent earned their diploma within six years! Comparatively, the University of North Carolina (UNC) far outperforms UNCU’s graduation rates, as 70 percent of UNC students earn their degrees within six years. Adding to this comparison, North Carolina State reports a 56 percent graduation rate, which still excels beyond UNCU’s stats.
Due to their disparaging university averages, NCCU is expected to increase its enrollment from 8,300 to 13,000 students within the next 10 years. While increased enrollment is a key to helping their school, leaders argue that their admission standards are experiencing a shift as well: “Across the state, universities are enrolling more community college graduates toting two-year degrees…Campus officials see eager, mature and motivated students who may be a better bet to reach the academic finish line than an 18-year-old freshman who has never set foot on a college campus or lived away from home.”
Should I Transfer to a University?
If you are a current student or recent graduate from a local community college, you may want to explore the many potential benefits of continuing your education at the university level. UNC data proves that first semester juniors who transfer to a university from a nearby community college (in this case, Wake Tech Community College) earn higher GPAs than their fellow peers who have not attended community college previously.
Furthermore, UNC reports that 33 percent of community college transfers who enroll in the university as juniors are able to complete their program requirements and earn their degree within just two years. Within four years of transferring, 69 percent of junior year transfers complete their programs!
From greater academic strength to improved graduation rates, community college students are quickly becoming the applicants of choice for the top universities around the country.