Have any of you guys gone to a community college? i am totally stressed out about the monetary aspect of the whole college process. I will be a freshman next year; I'm not sure whether I want to go away (I received great financial aid so I would be paying 13-16K a year) or I might go to the community college. My stepmom has a a job interview in Texas, I'm not sure if I want to go with her to Texas, or just go away to school. It's all so crazy. I was wondering what your experiences were like at community colleges. Were you able to make new friends and such?
-------------------- Who is perfect in the eyes of perfection? Posts: 42 | From: New York | Registered: Aug 2006
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While I haven't attended community college, I do teach at one now...so I can share what I know from that perspective.
There are certainly some benefits to doing a CC at first. I do have a lot of students who are doing some of their basic required courses at the CC for a LOT less than they'd pay for them at a traditional college. Many of these students plan to do around a year at the CC and get those pre-reqs in and then transfer to a 4-year program. It does save money that way. You also tend to have more choices of classes offered later in the evening than at a regular school, if that helps you. It also seems like the student body (at my school at least) is a great deal more varied than I've experienced at 4-year schools. There just seems to be more diversity in terms of the people, their experiences, etc. It can be a good place to start if you're not sure if college is for you or what you want to do right now. You can try it out without the higher financial burden.
On the other side, drop out rates tend (though not always) to be pretty high at CCs.
It is also more common to notice that the folks at CCs have a lot more going on in life than do the students at traditional 4-year places. The vast majority of my students have a job (often two or three jobs). (That's not to say that students at traditional schools don't have jobs...just that my CC students tend to work more and work more seriously than what I've seen from students I've taught at 4-year schools.) Many have kids. Some are older than traditional students. Nobody lives on campus and some may drive significant distances to get to campus. While there will be some clubs, etc. available, it's not nearly to the level of what you'd have on a traditional campus. It's just a different conception of student life.
If what you are hoping for is a "traditional" college experience...the dorm experience, lots of folks in your age group who are (somewhat) similar to you in terms of life, folks that you can hang out with fewer interruptions (multiple jobs, families, etc.), lots of clubs and sports and on-campus perks (like a gym, etc.), more faculty who are full-time PhDs, more advanced classes...then what you want is a 4-year school. Even if you do want that experience, you can spend a year (or two) at a CC and then transfer as long as you are careful about what you take (making sure they are credits that will transfer so that you are not wasting your money) and know ahead of time where you would like to go and how much credit they would allow you to bring with you. And, if what you want is a degree from a CC, then obviously you want to be at a CC or tech college rather than a 4-year school.
I would suggest that you be very careful and very choosy about what school you select if you're going the CC/tech route. A CC that is attached to a state school is likely to be okay. But many folks have raised serious concerns about some of those schools that you commonly see advertised on TV. Those may not be as good of a deal as they seem. (Credits don't transfer, employers don't look at the degrees the same way, ends up costing nearly what a 4-year degree would, etc.)
-------------------- Sarah Liz Posts: 7315 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2000
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I would also add that some CCs and 4-year schools have agreements with each other where students do 2 years at CC, then are accepted into a specific program at the 4-year college. I've seen this especially for engineering and nursing programs. So, a student might take introductory math/science/health classes at the CC then finish their degree at the 4-year college. I would assume that the quality of such programs is pretty decent, and doing this can save you money and be convenient in other ways as well. Often if you go to the CC website, they will even advertise these programs by mentioning, for example, "The Small Town CC-State U. joint program in computer science" or something like that.
Posts: 143 | From: USA | Registered: Aug 2009
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