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:
Updated May 29, 2017 |
Learn about articulation agreements between community colleges and prestigious business schools, which can help you earn a lucrative business degree.
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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Updated May 10, 2017 |
For-Profit Colleges Fill the Community College Void
For-profit colleges are now becoming an alternative for community college students who are stuck on waiting lists or who hope to earn bachelor's degrees. Learn more about the opportunities and articulation agreements between for-profit colleges and community colleges.
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 and
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Published February 24, 2010 |
Learn why private universities are actively recruiting community college graduates to their campuses.
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
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Updated May 10, 2017 |
Learn about the strategies you can take to guarantee your admission to a state university once you have completed community college in states like Hawaii, Virginia, California, and New Hampshire.
In these times of tighter family budgets and increased competition for admission to four-year universities, community college students may worry about their prospects for transferring to a university after earning an associate’s degree.
 
However, many students can put their mind at ease, especially if you live in an area where your local community colleges have entered into guaranteed admission agreements with four-year state universities. What follows is an overview of some states that are leading the way in guaranteed-admission and articulation agreements:
 
Hawaii
 
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that starting in the 2010-11 school year, students who earn an associate’s degree from any of the seven community colleges under the University of Hawaii system will automatically be accepted to the University of Hawaii-Manoa, University of Hawaii-Hilo, or University of Hawaii-West Oahu.
 
The University of Hawaii will also waive admission fees for these students, and it will make these students eligible for early registration at any of the state system’s four-year colleges.

 

New Hampshire
 

The state of New Hampshire offers its community colleges a similar guarantee. Its Connections Program, according to the Community College Times, allows students who take at least 12 credits per semester for two consecutive semesters at any of the state’s seven community colleges to automatically be accepted to the University of New Hampshire or other state schools, as long as the students earned a grade of “C” or better in all of their classes. As in Hawaii, students who are automatically accepted to the state university do not have to

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Updated February 17, 2017 |
Taking the Honors Track at Community College vs. a Regular Four-Year College Path
Valedictorians and honors students are increasingly choosing honors programs at community colleges instead of four-year institutions after graduating from high school. Learn about the trends and benefits of taking the honors track at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution.
The face of college education in America is changing, especially on community college campuses. While community colleges were once unfairly labeled as “13th grade,” these two-year institutions now provide plentiful opportunities for high-achieving students to challenge themselves.  Indeed, a growing number of high school valedictorians and honors students are enrolling in community colleges afterhigh school
 
Community Colleges Increasingly Serving the Best and the Brightest
 
Prompted in part by economic concerns, a number of top high school students are choosing to forego enrollment at prestigious four-year universities in favor of spending their first two years in an honors program at a community college.  Indeed, the savings can be dramatic, and these students can save $80,000 by attending community college first, instead of a private college.  
 
These honors programs, most of which are highly selective and academically rigorous, are designed to provide academically talented students with intellectual challenges for an affordable price, and they are more popular now than they have ever been.

Honors Programs at Two-Year Colleges Are Thriving

A recent article in the Washington Post reported that applications to community college honors programs are growing at a quicker rate than general applications, which are also on the rise. Honors programs of particular note include:

* The Montgomery Scholars program of Maryland's Montgomery College. This highly selective program, which is ten years old, has only 25 seats available and received a record 275 applications for Fall 2009, according to the Post.
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Recent Articles
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Learn about the different financial options you have for affording community college.
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Do you feel stuck in a career you don't enjoy? Are you considering making a switch? If so, keep reading to learn about community college for changing careers.
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.