Overview

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.

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Community College vs. Trade School

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Community College vs. Trade School
Is community college or trade school a better fit for your career of choice?

After you graduate from high school you find yourself thrust out into the world with an endless array of possibilities. For many people, the years after high school are filled with more school, typically at a 4-year university. Another option, however, is community college where you can receive an education (or at least take some of your classes) at lower tuition than traditional universities in preparation for your future. Another option many people consider is a trade school. But what is the difference between community college and trade school, and how do you know which option is right for you?

This video compares trade schools and community colleges.

What Exactly is Trade School?

Also known as a technical school or a vocational school, a trade school is a program that offers students hands-on experience related to a specific career. Some of the careers that you can look forward to with a degree from a trade school include skilled labor positions like electricians, machinists, mechanics, pharmacy technicians, dental hygienists, and nuclear technicians. Compared to four-year schools that require students to take electives or general education courses, the education you receive at a trade school is more streamlined and the curricula focus on developing a specific skill set and knowledge base to ensure success in your chosen career. Many trade school programs also require students to complete some kind of apprenticeship where they work with a professional

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Why Do Community Colleges Get a Bad Rap?

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Why Do Community Colleges Get a Bad Rap?
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.

Choosing a college is a huge decision – one that will affect your career options for the rest of your life. Not only is selecting a college a life-changing decision, but it can be a very challenging decision to make simply because there are so many options. Between state colleges, private colleges, and community colleges, your options are nearly limitless but, for many people, community colleges aren’t even on the radar. Why is it that community colleges get such a bad rap and is a bad reputation deserved?

In this video, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner discusses the benefits of community colleges, including how they are preparing a skills-ready workforce.

The Benefits of Community College

Before getting into the reason behind the bad rap community college often receives, it would benefit you to learn some of the reasons why someone might choose a community college over a state or private institution. You will find a list of benefits associated with community colleges below:

  • Lower Tuition Costs – The main benefit of attending community college over a state or private institution is reduced tuition costs. While a private college might charge $30,000 or more for a single year, community colleges might charge the same amount (or less) for four years of education. Not only are tuition costs lower at a
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Is a Community College Bachelor’s Degree a Smart Choice?

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Is a Community College Bachelor’s Degree a Smart Choice?
In recent years, community colleges have been granted permission to offer four-year degrees. For some, this represents a great opportunity to get an education at an affordable price. But for others, worry with regard to the quality of these newly established programs is a point of concern.

The lure of an affordable college education brings countless thousands of students just like you to community college campuses each semester. With a greater breadth and depth of course offerings and degree programs available than ever before, community colleges represent excellent value for many students who seek to build their skills for future educational and career endeavors. Now, in addition to many associate’s degrees and professional certificate programs, community colleges throughout the country are offering select bachelor’s degree programs, furthering the appeal of the community college route. However, despite many advantages to these programs they are not for everyone.

Degree Programs Around the Nation

The movement to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees is borne out of the needs of the modern workforce. Education and economic officials recognize that with major gaps in the workforce in the areas of healthcare, energy exploration, and information technology in particular, new workers need to be trained. Community colleges represent an excellent opportunity to train these workers because they are typically at the forefront of educational innovation and are much more able to respond to the changing needs of the workforce that is a four-year institution.

This new wave of educational opportunity is present in all corners of the country. More than a dozen community colleges in Washington State now offer baccalaureate degrees. More than two-dozen two-year institutions in Florida offer four-year degree options. Texas, Hawaii, and West Virginia community colleges have gotten on board with offering bachelor’s degree

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Second Rate? Community Colleges Fight Stereotypes

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Second Rate? Community Colleges Fight Stereotypes
Many common myths about community colleges exist, but as they continue to diversify and offer cutting-edge programming, two-year institutions are fighting back against these long-held stereotypes.

Some see it as the “easy way out.” Minimal entrance requirements, open enrollment, and a wide variety of basic and remedial courses give some people the impression that the community college experience is not academically rigorous. Although there might have been some truth to this stigma a few decades ago, community colleges of today are on the leading edge of education, particularly for new and emerging career areas experiencing explosive growth. Yet, many myths about community colleges still exist.

Myth #1: Students Rejected from Four-Year Colleges

Perhaps the most pervasive stereotype about community college students is that they are there out of academic necessity, not out of choice. Some people assume that four-year institutions' more stringent entrance criteria are too much for ‘those students’ to meet, forcing them to study instead at a local junior college. While academic necessity is a reason for some students to attend a two-year institution, the overarching reason why students choose to attend a community college is cost-effectiveness.

The per-year cost of a university education is roughly three times that of the per-year cost of attending a two-year school. With many 21st-century careers needing only an associate’s degree and increasingly smooth transfer procedures from community colleges to universities, completing the first two years of one’s education at a two-year institution makes a lot of financial sense. The flexible nature of community college scheduling and the availability of scholarships and grants means that many students can obtain their associate’s degree or equivalent

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Community Colleges: Bigger Buck Bang than For-Profits

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Community Colleges: Bigger Buck Bang than For-Profits
A recent study reveals that job applicants with a credential or associate’s degree from a community college have slightly better chances of getting a job interview than students who attend a for-profit college or university. Since community colleges are much more budget friendly than for-profit institutions and have much better job placement results, community colleges are a much better option for employment-minded students.

A recent report by the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research found that employers show little preference between a job candidate with an education from a for-profit institution such as DeVry or the University of Phoenix and one with an education from a public community college. In a study in which researchers tracked the callbacks to 9,000 fictitious job applications, 11.6 percent of employers responded to applications listing a community college education. In contrast, 11.3 percent responded to faux applications of students from for-profit colleges. Companies also requested interviews of community college students more often – 5.3 percent – compared to 4.7 percent for applications listing a for-profit college education.

ABC News investigates for-profit schools accused of misleading prospective students about job prospects post-graduation.

The fabricated applications were submitted with similar credentials, either an associate’s degree, certificate, or some college education, so applicants would not be called because of an imbalance of qualifications. What the study’s findings suggest is similar to what other studies on for-profit education have discovered: When it comes to applying for a job, community college students are as much, if not more attractive to employers as students from for-profit schools.

It is important to note that this research does not delve deeper into hiring a new employee and only examines employers’ initial responses. Differences between community college-educated and for-profit college applicants are not accounted

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