Why Community College

Learn all about community college and whether it is the right choice for your academic career. We'll cover the history of community colleges, the latest trends and issues, and the top degree-producing schools. Find out why students are turning to community colleges, see what issues affect campuses with such a diverse student body, and get information on the latest trends in degree offerings.
View the most popular articles in Why Community College:
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10 Ways to Make the Most of the Community College Experience
We offer smart advice to students entering community college this fall to ensure they reap the greatest benefits from their time at the college.
Students attend community college for a variety of reasons – to raise their GPAs, save money or explore a variety of liberal arts courses in preparation for choosing a major. Those who have been in the work force for some time may head back to a community college for additional training or re-training in a different career. No matter what your reasons for attending community college might be; these 10 tips will help you make the most of that experience, both during your time at community college and in the goals you might hope to achieve afterward.

Choose Your Classes Wisely

Doing well in community college classes is important, but doing well in the right classes is critical for students who are looking to possibly transfer to a four-year institution in two years. While advisors can help students make good class choices, there are also some general rules of thumb to follow when creating your community college course list.

“Students should think about what sort of classes they’re taking,” Kate Lazzo, assistant director of admission at Stanford University, told USA Today. “They should focus in on the area they intend to major in, but shouldn’t do so at the expense of a broad liberal arts education.”
Make the Grades
Grade point averages are an important factor for community college students to focus on, whether they are heading to another institution after completing their community college program or going directly into the workforce. The grades earned in community college indicate more
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Vets Taking Advantage of New Job Training Program through Community Colleges Nationwide
Learn more about the new Veterans’ Retraining Assistance Program, which offers veterans the chance to train for a new high-demand career at their local community college.
Veterans struggling to find full-time employment now have another service at their disposal. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) is a part of the 2011 VOW to Hire Heroes Act, and it offers vets the necessary training in a myriad of high-demand industries through local trade schools and community colleges. The veterans funding program will fill in gaps left by other services geared to veterans, ensuring every person who serves the country in the armed forces will have the opportunity to get training and gainful employment after their years of service.

What is VOW and VRAP?

According to the website for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 was designed to offer a seamless transition to veterans exiting their service and preparing to work in the private sector. The program was signed into law by President Obama and is funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program is a part of VOW and was created through a joint effort between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor.

The Community College Times reports that VRAP will eventually train more than 99,000 veterans for high-demand jobs over the next few years, through programs at technical schools and community colleges. The program will initially target 45,000 vets between July 1 and September 30, 2012. Another 54,000 vets are scheduled to receive the benefits of VRAP between October 1, 2012, and March 31, 2014.
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Does Higher Education at Community Colleges Perpetuate Inequality?
We examine recent reports that suggest increased enrollment in community colleges actually promotes inequality, rather than minimizing it.
Education is frequently touted as the great equalizer in today’s society, but a number of educators are now suggesting the education system may not be doing its job in effectively reducing disparities. Recent studies also seem to support these claims, offering evidence in the form of standardized test scores and college completion rates that suggest all things may not be created equal in the world of academia today. Does higher education at community colleges perpetuate this inequality, or is it the solution today’s society needs to reduce concerning disparities? The answer to that question may be yes on both counts.

Colleges Increasing Access, Not Completion Rates

Inequality does not appear to be a result of restricted access to higher education opportunities. Since the recession, students have been heading to institutions of higher education in droves, whether to train for a new career or launch a successful field of study right out of high school. The increased enrollment at community colleges in particular has broadened the field to students from all economic and cultural backgrounds, guaranteeing a more diverse student body at many institutions across the country.

Unfortunately, the increased access to community colleges does not necessarily lead to higher completion rates. In fact, graduation rates at many community colleges are downright dismal – with less than two-fifths of students that start in these schools going on to complete a degree program in six years or less, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The success rate goes even
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Underprivileged Student?  Upward Bound Can Prepare You for College
We take a closer look at the Upward Bound program, which is designed to prepare students for college whom might not otherwise succeed due to economic or family factors.
Prospective college students that come from families where many have already forged the path through higher education have many resources at their disposal when it comes time to head to the college of their choice. In contrast, those who will be the first in their family to attend college do not have the same advantage of experience within the family to light the way. For those students, programs like Trio Upward Bound help them to understand what higher education is about and find the path through a college education that will benefit them most in the future. To that end, community colleges across the country offer Upward Bound programs to motivate students to explore higher education and determine the college path they want to take.

History of Trio Upward Bound

The origins of Upward Bound date back to the Educational Opportunity Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. According to the Council for Opportunity in Education, the experimental program was first introduced to reduce barriers faced by low-income and first-generation college students that created inequality in educational opportunity for those students.  The program is offered through colleges, universities and community colleges, and funds are distributed to individual programs through the issuance of competitive grants.

Upward Bound is just one of three programs that are currently a part of Trio. Talent Search was created by the Higher Education Act in 1965, and Special Services for Disadvantaged Students followed in 1968. This set of
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Adult-Friendly Degree Programs at Community College
We've found some of the best degree options for adults who are concerned about salary, job stability, and flexibility in earning a degree.
The job market appears to be evolving at a rapid-fire pace in recent years, as the Great Recession has caused a shift – and even a nearly complete disappearance – of many industries. This evolution has sent many adult workers back to school in search of new career paths that would be more lucrative and more stable. The academic landscape often looks very different to adult workers worried about supporting and balancing families, as well as working around professional schedules to achieve their education dreams. With that in mind, consider this list of adult-friendly community college degree programs, as well as tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to pursue a community college degree.  
Is Now the Right Time for Community College?
There are a number of reasons to consider continuing education as an adult, including:
  • Inability to advance in your current position without additional education
  • Sudden unemployment (such as a layoff) and difficulty finding a new job without a degree
  • Need to make a career change when current career runs out of opportunities
  • Fulfill a lifelong dream of achieving a college education
All of these reasons are legitimate courses that lead to community college. However, before you make the leap, it is important to count the cost – including the time and money involved in higher education – to be sure you are prepared to make the investment. Next research all your opportunities, in terms of schools and degree programs, to be sure you find the best one
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Why Community College


What is a community college and why are more students turning to them? Who are some of the most famous community college graduates? Here you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

Trends and Current Issues

Get information on the latest trends and issues affecting community colleges today. Explore the impact of community colleges on the global economy, get information on how community colleges have changed over the years, and see how the latest technologies are being employed on campus.

Student Populations

Attracting students from all walks of like, community college campuses are rich with diversity. This section covers a myriad of issues relating to student populations. Learn more about LGBT support on community college campuses, explore adult-friendly degree programmers and, see what resources are available to veterans.

Enrollment & Admissions

We provide a comprehensive look into some of the most important issues affecting enrollment and admissions. Get the latest news on declining enrollment across the country and the impact it has. Learn more about the latest trends in admissions requirements from vaccinations to placement tests. Find expert advice on what to expect your first year, and lean more about the pitfalls to avoid.


Community colleges have been expanding course and degree offerings. This section provides information on your options, from GED to a bachelor’s degree. Learn how you can benefit from a professional certification, find out which community colleges are offering bachelor’s degrees, and identify the top degree-producing colleges.