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   December 01, 2017 |
More Trouble for California Community Colleges
After City College of San Francisco loses its accreditation, other community colleges in the state are facing warnings, sanctions and possible loss of accreditation as well.
Photo Credit: lensovet via Wikipedia Commons
Before the dust even settles on problems faced by City College of San Francisco, other California community colleges may be facing similar challenges. The largest community college in the state was recently notified it would lose its accreditation by next summer. Now, other schools in the state are dealing with warnings, sanctions and possible loss of accreditation as well. What does the future hold for community colleges in the Golden State?
 
Accreditation Reviews Hit the State
 
The Accrediting Commission for Junior and Community Colleges (ACJCC) has been busy in recent months, reviewing California schools and making recommendations for follow-up action as needed. The comprehensive process resulted in the termination of accreditation for City College of San Francisco, the largest community college in the state with a student population of 85,000. In addition, other schools have been issued warnings and one was placed on probation after the review was completed.
 
The news is not all bad in California, however. Some community colleges in the state also had warnings upgraded to lighter sanctions, or had the warnings removed altogether. While the list of schools recently reviewed is a long one, we’ll take a look at a few of the highlights of the report that shed light on the state of the California Community College System overall.
 
Community Colleges Working Through Sanctions
 
Two community colleges in the state will begin the process of working through their list of recommendations to get their sanctions removed by next summer. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that
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Updated   May 31, 2016 |
Large California Community College Faces Accreditation Loss, Shut-Down
We report on the latest developments at City College of San Francisco that have resulted in the school’s loss of accreditation and impending shut-down.
Photo Credit: Qrc2006 via Wikipedia Commons
The largest community college in California is destined to meet a dire fate one year from now, if heroic efforts to save the school are not successful. City College of San Francisco was recently notified by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it will lose accreditation by July 31, 2014. Although the school has few options left, extreme moves are in the works that could be the last hope for saving the failing school.
 
11 of 14 Changes Go Unaddressed
 
Problems for City College date far beyond the recent announcement of accreditation loss. San Francisco Gate reported that the commission evaluated the school in 2012, and made 14 recommendations for improvements that would save the schools accreditation status. Those 14 recommendations included:
  • A revised mission statement for the school
  • Use of the mission statement to allocate resources, with an increase of reserves
  • An assessment of the college’s effectiveness
  • Evaluations of all staff members responsible for student success
  • Determination of whether there is sufficient staff to ensure student success
  • Identification of priorities in class curriculum and effectiveness of current courses and programs
  • Assessment of whether student support services are hitting the mark
  • Development of an effective planning process
  • Leadership training for all staff and faculty members
  • Reporting of financial information through timely, accurate process
  • Inclusion of building operating costs in long-term financial planning
  • Development of plan for maintaining and updating information systems
  • Improvement of governance structure for more efficient decision-making
  • Adherence to bylaws and policies by college trustees
The college was placed on severe sanctions and given eight months to
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Updated   May 20, 2017 |
 Low Standards Mean Higher Failure Rates at Community Colleges
We look at a recent study by the National Center on Education and the Economy that indicates standards are too low at community colleges today. That low bar results in a high failure rate in the job market.
Disturbingly low standards at community colleges nationwide translate to lower chances of success in the job market after college, a new study finds. Researchers discovered that although community college instructors appear to be lowering the bar for first-year students, many were unable to even meet the lower academic standards in math and literacy. This dismal picture suggests multiple layers of reform may be necessary to ensure students are ready for the professional workforce at graduation time.
 
Report Gauges College and Career Readiness
 
The new report, titled, “What does it Really Mean to be College and Work Ready?” was compiled by the National Center on Education and the Economy. The non-profit groups studies academic standards, instructional systems and assessment. Researchers looked at seven community colleges in seven states, looking at tests, textbooks and assignments given to first-year college students. Colleges were chosen at random and school size ranged from 3,000 to 30,000 students, according to Inside Higher Ed.
 
The study focused on popular career training programs offered by community colleges across the country, including accounting and business, automotive technology, criminal justice, early childhood education and information technology. Researchers focused on first-year students in these programs, and focus was placed on reading, writing and mathematics skills necessary to master these early college courses.
 
Lower Standards Still Not Met by Many Students
 
Researchers discovered that the bar set by college instructors in first-year courses was fairly low in terms of both reading and writing expectations. However, Education Week reports that many students are
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Updated   May 30, 2017 |
Pima Community College Placed on Probation
We explore the reasons behind the recent probation of Pima Community College, and what the Arizona school plans to do to bring their credentials back up to par once again.
In the midst of major turnover from the top down, Pima Community College is now on probation. The Arizona school has been notified by its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, that it has two years to turn things around or lose its accreditation status. With an executive team in limbo and reports of poor – and even unethical – management in recent years, it looks like Pima has its work cut out for the next two probationary years.
 
Problems from the Top Down
 
Tucson News Now reports that the problems at Pima that resulted in probation may have initiated from top administration officials. The publication specifically cites allegations of sexual harassment against Ray Flores, the former chancellor of the school, which were left unaddressed by school administrators for a number of years. The commission investigating the school also found a “hostile working environment” was reported by many staff members of the community college.
 
Other issues reported by the Arizona Daily Star include corrupt contracting practices. Executives of the school have been accused of approving expensive contracts without going through the appropriate bidding process. Throughout the accusations of mismanagement, there is a common thread of a culture cultivated of “fear and retribution” and an ineffective governing body that failed to address concerns or manage situations that made it challenging to work at the college.
 
Report Specifics that Led to Probation
 
Inside Higher Ed reports that the four-member accreditation team from the Higher Learning Commission found complex issues with the
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Updated   May 29, 2017 |
The Rise of International Students at Community College
We explore reasons behind the increasing number of international students at community colleges across the country and what those schools are doing to accommodate students from overseas.
Community colleges have been diversifying their student populations in recent years to include students from other states and even other countries. As some two-year schools become known for specific programs, transfer agreements with four-year institutions and even partnerships with local businesses, their appeal is expanding as well. International students interested in a U.S. community college may enjoy a number of benefits, but face unique challenges in making their higher education dreams a reality.
 
Why International Students Choose Community College
 
There are a number of reasons why international students are looking at community colleges today, according to a report at U.S. News, including:
  • Lower Tuition Rates – Students from a distance find affordable higher education through America’s community college system. For example, U.S. News and World Report cites the average cost of 24 credits from Diablo Community College in California at around $6,000, while the same number of credits at San Jose State University, a neighboring four-year school, is around $16,500 for the same number of credits.
  • Transfer Options – Many community colleges across the country now have transfer agreements with four-year schools, ensuring students that begin their education in a two-year program can finish their baccalaureate degree at a nearby institution.
  • Smoother Transition – Students coming from other countries often find community college is an easier transition to the American way of life. Many community colleges provide English language courses and other services to help international students adapt to a new language and culture.
  • Easier Requirements – For
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Recent Articles
December 01, 2017
Learn about trending community college topics this week such as San Francisco's move toward free tuition at community colleges and the rise in hunger and homelessness among community college students across the country.
December 01, 2017
This summer will be wrapping up before we know of it, and your first semester at community college is rapidly approaching. Are you ready for it?
December 01, 2017
To encourage students to pursue higher education, some states are considering plans to offer zero-tuition programs at public community colleges. These programs could make college a reality for many young people, however, critics argue such programs would cost taxpayers a significant amount of money.
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.