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:
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How to Ensure Your Community College Credits Transfer to a 4 Year University
Make sure that your community college credits will transfer to your four year university by following these recommended strategies.
Many community college students enter into their first year of higher education without a specifically clear career pathway. In such cases, many students approach their impending graduation date only to realize that their decided career choice actually requires additional education and certifications from a four year university.
 
In such cases, many community college students can take advantage of roll-over opportunities, where cooperating universities accept community college coursework as transfer credit. By transferring credits, students are able to save money and time, and they can often graduate from their chosen university with far greater efficiency. 
 
Transferring Credits
 
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 71 percent of community college students intend to, at some point, pursue a baccalaureate degree. Adding to their data, studies from the Center reveal that approximately 20 to 50 percent of new university students are actually transfer students from community college. 
 
This brief video explains the process of transferring credits from a community college to a four year college.
 
 
As a rising number of students are both interested, and often required, to pursue longer courses of study, many community colleges and universities are striving to create more streamlined transfer programs to provide students with enhanced support. 
 
Seeking Cooperating Institutions 
 
When looking into transferring community college credits, experts assert that the earlier a student can make plans and arrangements, the better his or her transition may be. As eCampusTours supports, “By choosing a transfer school as early as possible, you will save a lot of time
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How Community Colleges are Outperforming 4 Year Universities
Learn how community colleges are outperforming 4 year universities in several different areas.
While four-year universities are traditionally believed to outperform community colleges, new research highlights that the contrary is often true.  With the evolution of revolutionary and competitive community college programs across the country, these institutions are providing students with more financially reasonable, convenient, and equitably challenging academic experiences. 
 
Class Size and Student-Teacher Interaction   
 
In his study of community colleges, Kevin Carey surveyed students from both community colleges and four-year universities. Carey reached the steady conclusion that community college students consistently reported classroom experiences of greater interaction, discussion, and one-on-one opportunities, versus university survey results. According to his research, over 2/3 of community college students engage in class discussions by asking questions and interacting; on the contrary, only of polled university students reported this experience. Continuing, surveys revealed that community college students received more prompt feedback from professors, in addition to reporting more opportunities for student and professor interaction.  
 
 
Indeed, community colleges tend to have smaller class sizes, which naturally lend to greater interaction between students and teachers. In contrast, many universities, especially public ones, have larger auditorium class sizes, prompting some students to feel disconnected with their professors. 
 
Academic Challenges and Comparisons
 
Also found through his educational surveys, Kevin Carey reports that most significantly, the academic challenges of the studied community colleges prove to be comparable to the four-year university experiences. Since universities often focus on both teaching and research, community colleges have a more stringent focus on academic instruction, as opposed to academic investigation. As Carey explains, “The first concern of the research
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Seniors Planning for Community College
Learn what steps a senior should take in planning for community college.
While each high school year has unique and specific goals, seniors can begin to prepare for their step in higher education as they make plans to attend community college.

Developing a Plan for Enrollment

As a senior, you will make many important decisions regarding the next phase of your life. Choosing a community college means finding a campus that is in line with your goals, both academically and professionally. 
 
Since community colleges can provide students with different areas of academic focus, students can begin their investigation of specific schools by requesting catalogues from each community college. Catalogues and websites will provide information about programs, course schedules, and graduation plans. After reviewing information, a senior can also make an appointment with a college counselor. A counselor can discuss with a student plans for career, job interests, and professional guidance. After narrowing down career options, a counselor and senior can discuss whether or not a particular college is the right fit for specific areas of study.   
 
Financial Planning - Anticipating the Costs
 
As the costs of college can often be expensive, high school seniors and parents can make the appropriate plans by reviewing financial aid and loan options
 
Remember, community college is indeed much more affordable than traditional four-year institutions.   However, planning ahead will help the senior determine whether or not to attend community college full-time, or to also work in a part-time or full-time position. 
 
Preparing for Placement Tests
 
Indeed, community college admissions do not require a senior to take any of the national standardized tests, such as the SAT
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The Reverse Transfer Process
Learn about the reverse transfer process and how it can benefit your education.
For the majority of students in the United States, the standard road to a higher degree is as follows: it starts in elementary school, continues on into middle school, becomes the focus of the high school, and then – finally – the bachelor’s degree is earned in college. It is a pattern with which most of us are familiar.
 
However, with the increased popularity of community colleges, some are walking a different path to higher education. These students are considered Reverse Transfer Students, and if you choose to become one, you may find your educational experience greatly affected in a positive way.
 
What is a Reverse Transfer Student?
 
Although many people are comfortable with the traditional journey to higher education, some students need the opportunity to “back up” while on the road to a higher degree. 
 
These reverse transfer students have graduated high school, and they have attended college for a period of time or, in some cases, have even graduated from a traditional four-year college. For a variety of reasons, though, these students decide that the traditional four-year college is just not for them, and they embrace the opportunity to enroll in and to attend a two-year community college.  
 
Subsequently, they transfer from their four-year college and join a two-year college, and while they are moving forward in terms of their education, they are “taking a step back” by switching from a traditional college or university to a community college. Hence, they are reverse transfer students.
 
 
Why do students become Reverse
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The Value of Accreditation - Choosing Wisely
Learn how to evaluate colleges based on accreditation, and why it's important.
In the decision of choosing which college is right for you, the options abound. Many students find themselves choosing between community college, a technical college, or a four-year institution. Although all these institutions can provide a solid education, be aware that not all colleges are created equal. In fact, accreditation is one of the main elements that differentiate between colleges’ level of scholarly quality. 
 
What is accreditation?
 
Accreditation is an important distinction in the realm of colleges and universities. According to the US Department of Education, the purpose of accreditation is to certify that the education given by institutions meet national standards of quality. Therefore, if a college you are considering has national accreditation, then this demonstrates that the institution has met the standards of quality set forth by the US Department of Education. 
 
This video explains accreditation.
 

Fundamentally, accreditation ensures that you are obtaining a quality education – and for your future employers and graduate programs to recognize your education. If the college does not have accreditation, you may want to think twice about enrolling. 

Why accreditation is important

When you are choosing a college, accreditation is important for many factors – including the financial aid you can obtain and even the job you will get upon graduating. Subsequently, accreditation is an element of your college decision that cannot be taken lightly. If the institution you attend is not accredited, then you are subject to several disadvantages:   

Lack of government financial aid: Contingent upon schools participating in federal Title IV or state financial aid funding is

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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.