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 11, 2017 |
Are You Attending a Top 10% Community College?
How well is your community college ranked? We analyze the Aspen Institute's top 10% community college rankings to see where your current or prospective campus stands.
Community colleges have come to the forefront of higher education in recent years, since President Obama has made them one of the priorities for his administration. To help the process along, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program recently published a list of what it calls the nation's 120 best community colleges – which is the top 10 percent of all community colleges in the country. This list comes after extensive data collecting and analysis that attempted to accommodate the broad variations within community colleges while adhering to a general standardization that accurately compares schools.
 

The Contest for Top Spot

Now that the top 10% college list has been completed, the Aspen Institute hopes to continue the process by choosing 10 colleges out of the original 120. From the list of 10, the organization will select a single, top-performing school to award a $1 million  for excellence in school performance. According to the Aspen Institute's website, the purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of the value of community colleges, as well as reward those institutions that are committed to maintaining the highest standards of excellence in their educational pursuits.

To help them achieve this goal, the Aspen Institute recently appointed a high-profile jury to select the 10 finalists for the prize. The co-chairs of the jury are former Michigan Governor John Engler and former Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the announcement event. The Aspen prize had
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Updated April 26, 2017 |
How Well do Community College Students Perform After Transferring?
After transferring to a four-year institution, how do community college students fare? Learn about the reports and studies that shed light on community college student performance at the university level.
Students enter community college with plans to eventually transfer to a four-year university for a number of reasons. The student may have limited funds and will try to save money by getting lower division courses out of the way at community college, before heading to a university to complete major requirements. Some students may not have a high enough GPA at graduation to move directly into the university of their choice, so they take the first year or two of classes at community college until their GPA is high enough for a successful transfer.

No matter what your reason for transferring from community college, success in your academic endeavors is surely your ultimate goal. This article will explore the success rate of community college students that transfer to a four-year institution, as well as some of the factors that help determine performance after transferring.
 
What is Transfer Shock?
 
One concern for community college students transferring to four-year institutions is something commonly referred to as "transfer shock" in higher education circles. According to a report at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) website, transfer shock refers to the dip in grade point average that is experienced during the first or second semester at a new school. Transfer shock is a concern for educators as well as students, and it may impact the number of transfer students a university may be willing to accept in any given year.
 
Transfer shock is a very real phenomenon that affects many transfer students
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Updated January 10, 2017 |
Top 10 Most Community College Transfer-Friendly Universities
Which four-year universities embrace the highest numbers of community college transfer students? Read this article to find out!
ASU - Photo Credit: Schwnj via Wikipedia Commons
For many community college students, the end goal is not simply an associate degree from their current school, but the ability to transfer to a university and earn a bachelor's degree. However, many community college students are dismayed to discover that the classes they paid for and worked hard in at their community college don't always make the transfer to the next step. To ensure the hard work completed at the community college level does not go by the wayside, we analyze the latest US News and World Report study that discusses the 10 most transfer-friendly universities around the country.

 

Transfer Rates

 

 
According to the US News and World Report study, more than a half-million community college students transferred into four-year colleges in 2009. There are a variety of reasons why students may choose to take this path to completing their education. Some like the more affordable tuition rates at community colleges and get as many of their credits at these less expensive schools as possible before completing their education at a university. Others find that after earning their associate degree, they want to pursue additional training and education in their field.
 
No matter what the reason for completing a transfer, students in this situation may discover that universities vary significantly in the amount of transfer students they accept and the resources provided to transfer students. For those who want to join this number in the future, it pays to research the best universities for transfer students, so they can
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Updated May 11, 2017 |
When Community Colleges are at Risk of Losing Accreditation
Not all community colleges are created equal, and some may just be on the verge of losing their accreditation. Witness the turmoil and recovery in the battle for accreditation at several community colleges.
Community colleges are available in nearly every city across the United States, helping high school graduates and professional adults alike get the training and education they need to succeed in their chosen careers. A key component in a quality education from a community college is the school's accreditation that ensures the degree and education received will be recognized by other schools and professional industries. However, not all community colleges successfully keep their accreditation status intact, leaving students and faculty scrambling to legitimize the education process without this important stamp of approval.
 

What is Accreditation?

According to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, accreditation is "a voluntary process of self-regulation and peer review adopted by the educational community." This means that educational institutions have agreed to evaluate one another to determine whether each has successfully achieved its stated educational goals.


When a school is accredited, it has been proven to provide a quality of education recognized by the educational community at large. Accredited schools are better recognized for their coursework and credits earned, and students who attend these institutions are more likely to be able to receive financial aid or transfer credits to another college or university.
 
It is important to note that while there are a number of different types of accreditation available to colleges today, the only legitimate accreditation organizations are recognized by the United States Department of Education. Not all colleges that are approved by their states are accredited as well. Prospective students should always ask
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Updated May 11, 2017 |
Community Colleges vs. State Schools: Which One Results in Higher Salaries?
A recent report found that graduates from Florida community colleges earned more than their state university counterparts. Learn more about the interesting results and their implications for your future earnings.
Since he took office, President Obama has been pushing to raise the community college graduation rate as an answer to our currently sluggish workforce and economy. A recent study on the earnings of college grads proves that the president might be right on track – at least in the state of Florida. The study, reported in the Miami Herald, shows that community college graduates tend to earn a higher average salary after school than students graduating from state universities.
 
What the Numbers Show
 

According to figures that were included in a report to the Florida State Board of Education Meeting held in December, community college graduates who earned associate in science degrees from Florida community colleges earned an average annual salary of $47,708 right out of school. By the same token, students who graduated from one of the state's 11 public university earned an average annual salary of just $36,552. The difference, around $11,000 per year, is not insignificant for those just starting out in the professional world, particularly those who might be graduating with a decent amount of student debt.

Graduates of vocational programs offered through community colleges also seemed to do well after graduation, with much less time invested up front. According to a report at Community College Spotlight, students who graduated from programs that took six months or less to complete earned an average annual salary of $37, 356. Those who completed certificate training in a specific industry earned an average
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Recent Articles
May 26, 2017
Learn how online courses broaden the options of a community college education.
May 20, 2017
Corrosion technology is one of the hottest new industries community colleges are training for. Currently, only a handful of schools offer a program, but the field is open for new graduates.
May 20, 2017
A recent report revealed that many California community college students take twice as long to get an associate’s degree as is normally required. While community college is less expensive than attending a four-year institution, students who drag out their degree programs lose much of that savings in additional tuition, fees, textbooks, and lost wages. In this article, we examine the reasons why some students take so long to graduate.
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.