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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The Problem with Community College Placement Tests
We examine a recent report that questions the fairness and effectiveness of college placement exams in determining whether students need remedial education before taking college courses.
Placement tests have traditionally been used by community colleges nationwide to determine whether recent high school graduates are prepared for the rigors of college coursework. The results of these examinations have landed many incoming college freshmen into remedial or “developmental” classes designed to bring their academic skills up to par before embarking on more challenging college-level classes. However, recent evidence suggests that those remedial classes may be having a much larger – and negative – influence on college completion rates overall. Additional research has shown that these placement examinations may not even be the most accurate assessment of college readiness for the majority of students today.
College Placement Exams Study: Other Measurements More Accurate?

A new study from Achieving the Dream, a non-profit organization, was created to improve community college outcomes for low-income students. The study, titled, “Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students Starting College,” found that tests commonly used by colleges to determine incoming student placement may be inaccurate and create hurdles to student success in college. The study found that other factors, including high school grades, maybe better measures of success.

The study looked at students from the Long Beach Unified school district that attended Long Beach City College after high school. The study found that ninety percent of the students had to take five-semester or more of remedial classes before they could embark on their college coursework. The study also found that if the college had relied
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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 than academic abilities –
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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.
This video looks at the Harvey Mudd College Upward Bound program.

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 opportunities 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
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Recent Articles
More and more, students are choosing to go to community college over traditional four-year universities but community colleges still have a bad reputation. Learn why in this informative article.
Learn about how minority mentorship programs at community colleges are improving academic performance and graduation rates, as well as providing a medley of benefits.
We examine a recent report that questions the fairness and effectiveness of college placement exams in determining whether students need remedial education before taking college courses.
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.