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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5 Steps to Choosing the Best Community College for You
Take the five steps to selecting a community college that will best suit your academic, professional, and personal goals.
Today's students enjoy more programs and degree opportunities at community colleges than ever before! However, with so many choices, finding the right community college can be overwhelming.  While there are many factors to consider in choosing a community college, there are four specific checklist steps you can take to choose the perfect community college for your future.

Step 1: Consider Your Professional Pathway
 
Before you enroll in community college, it is important to understand what your long-term professional goals are. Do you want to be a nurse? Would you like to be a scientist or engineer? Does being a wine taster fit your professional fancy? Based on your projected professional goals, create a list of community colleges that offer reputable programs and degrees in your field. This will help you narrow down your choices based on campuses that will propel you to professional success.
 
In addition, keep in mind that even university-bound students can benefit from attending community college first. Instead of being an undeclared major at a four-year university, explore your options at community college first. University courses often cost twice as much (or more) than the average community college classes. Students who are eager to explore different subjects can save thousands of dollars by enrolling at a nearby community college before wasting tuition costs at a university.
 
This video offers some tips on planning your career.
 
 
Step 2: Investigate the Industry
 
Once you have made a decision about your professional
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3 Reasons Why Top Universities are Recruiting Community College Students
Learn about the growing trend amongst four-year universities to recruit from community college campuses. Enjoy an academic head start and a competitive edge against other applicants by starting first at community college.
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
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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.  
 
This video illustrates the differences between community colleges and four-year colleges.
 
 
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 from 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
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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 catalogs from each community college. Catalogs 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 student plans for a career, job interests, and professional guidance. After narrowing down career options, a counselor and senior can discuss whether or not a particular college is a right fit for specific areas of study.   
 
This video offers suggestions for planning your first year at community college.
 
 
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
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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.