Thursday, October 8, 2015

What's in a College Part 4: Community Colleges

Hello all! The week is winding down and most colleges are preparing for their Fall Break (four day weekend)! For you High School students, this weekend is a great opportunity to visit some campuses because you have Monday off for Columbus Day!! So, enjoy your weekend everyone, but first I'm going to talk about community colleges!

A community college is a two year state school which offers Associate Degrees and courses that can be transferred to a four year university to earn a Bachelor's Degree. These colleges can be small or they can have a large number of students on their campus. Each one truly has their own personality and type of students.

When looking for a community college that fits your needs, you need to think of the program you want to study, whether you want to live on campus or commute from home, the type of lifestyle you want to live at college, and what extra-curricular activities you want to do .... essentially, just because you choose a two year school, it doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your needs or expectations in a college. Attending a two year program means that you will need to fit every opportunity possible into those two years. If you have the chance to do an internship, do it; if you have the chance to be an RA in a residence hall, do it; if you have the chance to help your professor with research, do it!! Less time doesn't mean less opportunities, it just means you need to be extra proactive.

Oftentimes, students will attend a community college to take college courses and save some money by living at home. This is a justifiable option and it is rather common nowadays. If you plan on transferring to another university for your Bachelor's degree, you will need to keep that in mind when it comes to your grades. You'll want to keep working hard in your classes in order to keep your GPA high and make you a desirable candidate for transfer admission. Also, you will want to see if your community college has an "articulation agreement" with any four-year colleges to help make the transferring process a little easier.

My boyfriend went to a community college for his Associate's Degree in Diesel Technology (to work on big tractors and tractor trailers) and had some great experiences during his time there. He was able to be in the Agricultural Engineering club, complete an internship with Caterpillar diesel engines, was able to make the Dean's List for a semester, and prepare his GPA for potential transfer if he chooses to pursue a Bachelor's degree later on. He graduated in 2 and a half years and was able to work part-time during his last semester while finishing two classes. All of these opportunities were available to him because he went to a community college, if he had attended another college, he may not have had these same opportunities nor taken advantage of them!

Going to a community college is a very viable option to help you save money and to help you take some courses to see what academic program you are interested in. Don't discredit community colleges, they are still a great place to get a great education!

Next week, I will be discussing vocational and technical colleges and what you can expect from them!

enjoy the chase,

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