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 19, 2017 |
Why are Universities Turning to a Reverse Transfer System?
The reverse transfer is growing exponentially in popularity. This is a more and more common new policy among many institutions to allow transfer of credits from four-year universities to community colleges. Why is it done, and who benefits from the policy?
Many community colleges across the country have transfer agreements with four-year schools, which allow students to easily transfer credits from the community college level and apply them toward a four-year degree program. Now, a whole new type of program is cropping up among two and four-year schools from coast to coast. Instead of transferring credits from community colleges to universities, schools are now allowing agreeing to reverse transfers, which allow students to take credits from their four-year institution and apply them to their community college degree.
 

The Reverse Transfer System is Introduced

While transfers to four-year schools provide clear benefits and a subsequent rise in popularity, the assurance of transferring credits from the university level to the local community college creates a more complex array of advantages. This process is a relatively new one that is just beginning to be introduced in college systems nationwide.

Many students who begin their college work at a community college move to a four-year institution before completing their associate degree. While credits may transfer to the four-year school, the student is left without a degree to underscore the work they put into their first college efforts. Until the bachelor’s degree is finished – which may take many more years of education – the student has little to show for his time, effort and money.
 
At the same time, community colleges are forced to report dismal completion rates – in some cases possibly affecting their ability to receive funding. However, many of these students
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Updated   May 19, 2017 |
Community College Provides Straight Career Path - Better than Four Year Colleges?
53.6% of people with bachelor’s degrees under the age of 25 are unemployed. Can community colleges be the answer? We analyze how innovative community colleges are beginning to lead the way on training students for in-demand, future careers.
Community colleges have experienced a mixed reputation over their 100-year history. On the one hand, these institutions have been traditionally viewed as the lesser choice in higher education. Other opinions have elevated these schools to the most direct way to train for the job market.  Which view is more accurate? Today, the latter appears to be a more prevalent one, particularly in light of the fact that many four-year schools are now trying to capitalize on the same features community colleges have boasted since the very beginning.
 

Career Training Begins at Community College

Since their inception, community colleges have been focused on vocational training. According to a report at the Times Herald-Record, these schools were originally created in the early part of the 20th century for the sole purpose of getting people into the workforce as quickly as possible. Fraternizing with academics and dabbling in philosophical thought processes were seen as counterproductive in this model of higher education.

While community colleges might have met their goals from a vocational standpoint, their singular focus also may have gained them a reputation as less academic schools than four-year colleges and universities. Those who wanted the true higher education experience would venture into the hallowed halls of those institutions perceived as factories for intellectuals and philosophers. However, when jobs become scarce and industries begin to fizzle, the practical application of higher education becomes much more revered.
 
Community Colleges Coin a Phrase Now Used by Four-Year Schools
 
Now we are at the beginning of the
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Updated   September 04, 2017 |
8 Reasons Why Community College Might be the Best Choice After High School
Should you go to community college or a four-year institution upon graduating from high school? The reasons for choosing community college first may be more compelling than you currently believe.
As the cost of tuition continues to increase at institutions of higher education across the country, many students are considering a transition to community college once they earn their high school diploma. Although these schools were once considered below par in terms of postsecondary education, the quality provided by many community colleges has been on track with many four-year schools today. The focus on community colleges by the Obama Administration has resulted in additional funding and industry-focused training that increases employment opportunities once the degree is earned. We have eight reasons why community college might be the best choice for some high school graduates.
 

Affordability

Although tuition is getting more expensive across the board, community colleges are still significantly more affordable than most four-year institutions. The average annual rate to attend a four-year university could run as high as $30,000 or more, while the annual tuition at a community college probably won’t cost much more than $5,000. In addition, many community college students continue to live at home while taking classes, saving money on room and board as well. 

Based upon our prior calculations comparing a community college with a private four-year university, you could end up saving $80,000 by attending community college for two years first

With more affordable prices overall, community college students often find they can foot the bill for their education without having to take on a significant amount of debt prior to graduation. Considering that many university students graduate with debt
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Updated   May 30, 2017 |
Start to Finish: Making the Most of Community College Degree Programs
As you plan your community college journey, take advantage of this start to finish guide. Learn about some of the hottest community college degree programs today, the importance of tying the degree into the current industry needs and how to plan your community college degree for preparation into a four-year degree program.
Community college has come a long way since their humble beginnings, and now two-year programs have become an effective way for many to jumpstart a new career or advance their current job to the next level. Whether you are looking for a two-year degree program that gets you into the workforce faster, or you are preparing for a four-year degree program with an eventual transfer to a university, community colleges have what you are looking for. However, before you sign on with the closest community college, check out these tips to help you make the most of your two years spent at that institution.
 

Choosing a Degree Program

The plethora of two-year degree programs is one of the primary reasons more adult students are flocking to community colleges today. These schools offer a bevy of options, from general education degrees to career-specific training in everything from renewable energy to healthcare. However, the growing number of degree choices can also make it difficult for first-year community college students to settle on a program that will offer them both fulfillment and sufficient career openings. It is important to research degree programs carefully before choosing a major to ensure you find the program that will be both personally rewarding and financially lucrative.

According to data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported by College Board, the top 10 degrees currently offered by community colleges in terms of job openings include:
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Updated   May 30, 2017 |
Top Five Community Colleges Announced
The final results are in for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. We’ll report on the top five community colleges in the country and how they made the grade.
After a full year of carefully assessing community colleges around the country, the Aspen Institute has recognized the top five performing schools with acclaim and hefty financial prizes. The awards were announced at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., where educators, business leaders and lawmakers were all in attendance. These five schools represent a broad base of institutions of higher education, in terms of demographics, location and areas of specialization.
 

About the Aspen Institute Award

The Aspen Institute began their quest for the top community college with a short list of 1,000 community colleges across the country. According to the Aspen Institute website, colleges were assessed on the following criteria:

  • Student Learning
  • Degree Completion and Transfer Rates
  • Equity in Education
  • Employment and Earning Potential after College
Improvement was also an area of careful scrutiny, particularly in regards to completion rates. With these factors in mind, the Aspen Institute was able to narrow the initial list of 1,000 schools to 120 by this past spring. From there, the organization chose 10 finalists to award prizes; one top school was awarded $600,000, four runners-up each received $100,000, and five additional schools each received a glass trophy for their efforts.
 
The Focus on Community Colleges
 
The role of community colleges in higher education has long been underestimated, but President Obama breathed new life into these institutions when he set an ambitious goal of graduating eight million more students from college by 2020. To achieve that goal, the President has said time and time again that community
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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.