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Are Community Colleges the Place for You?

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Why Community Colleges?

  • Did you know? Facts and comments on education in America today, and why you may be unprepared for the future.

  • Why should I consider junior college?

  • The downside of junior colleges.

  • The Student Con Artist

  • While you are in Junior College: Thinking ahead to a four-year school.

  • Search Engines for JCs

  • Important Links


    Link to Admissions Pages for all Public Colleges and Universities in the United States

    Do you know?

    • Even with the option of junior colleges, one half of the 15 million U.S. college students never graduate.

    • 50% of all students seeking college degrees begin their studies at a local 2 year college.

    • According to a Stanford study, three fourths of the students entering community colleges plan on securing a four-year degree; only about 20% have achieved that goal after six years.

    • Almost half of all high school graduates need remedial classes to succeed in community colleges, let alone a four-year institution, and many of those classes need to teach what the students should have learned in K-12, and didn't.

    • These days, almost all high school grads want to attend college. This is unrealistic and ignores the possibility that some of these students would be better off at a trade, technical, or vocational school.

      Aspiring electricians and plumbers, for instance, apprentice with an experienced company, and learn their craft. People in these types of industries are sometimes described as the "New Millionaires."

    • The City University of New York bars students who need remediation from attending its four-year colleges, requiring them to take the necessary classes elsewhere that will prepare them for higher education.

    • According to an article in the New York Times, nearly half of all high school graduates are unprepared for college work. Last year, 37% of the incoming freshman class at the California State system needed remedial math, 45% needed remedial English. (September 2, 2006, Diana Jean Schemo)

    • Junior college students demonstrate in alarming numbers that they are unable to demonstrate any critical thinking skills in analyzing what they read, or in understanding opposing viewpoints in a magazine or newspaper article.

    • Standards have slipped enough in our schools that we are around 29th in the world in math and science, and related disciplines such as engineering, with a country that does not value hard science.

    • We have huge deficiencies in reading and writing.
  • The penalties we will pay for these disintegrating standards will show up in global competition, loss of our dominance in research, and an inability to meet the challenges of such countries as China and India.

    • Clearly K-12, and especially 9-12 education is not doing its job, and the result and penalty for this falls on students. As standards slip, so will expectations of what does entail a satisfactory education.

    • In the past few years almost 25% of the states have passed legislation that specifically prohibit state universities from providing remedial courses, and require that they take other steps to steer those students toward technical schools or community colleges.

    • Some students attend high school and junior college at the same time, in an effort to prepare for college.

    • In the career book "What Color is my Parachute", the author makes the comment that a grade of "B" when your parents went to college is considered to be the equivalent of a "A" by todays standards.
  • My comments as a credentialed teacher:

  • The unions have too much power to dominate curriculum and this needs to be curtailed. Parents need to insist on more effective education for their children.

  • There is no other job where one cannot be fired for not ding that job.

  • Local school boards are made up of our elected representatives. They are the employers and it is not their job to knuckle under to unions, it is their job to represent the best interests of the parents and their students.


  • Community colleges prepare you for a regular four-year institution

  • You didn't get into your schools of choice

  • Better prep for a four-year

  • Limited funds and a reluctance to rack up too much debt

  • Ability to hold a job and save for last two years

  • Poor grades, low SAT/ACT scores

  • Higher aspirations about choice of four year schools than my high school grades will allow me to consider

  • Lack of/unsure of career goals

  • Not ready to leave home

  • A desire to get hardest classes out of the way with more access to professors and instructors

  • For Learning Disabled students a junior college with an LD program can ease the transition into a four-year institution and help guarantee success. In addition, you can obtain an AA Degree (Associates of Arts Degree), which in itself is of value to you.

    UT Austin List of all U.S. Community Colleges

    Learning Diabled Students and the College Process


    The Downside of Junior Colleges

  • Very little social life connected with the school

  • You miss out on the "college experience".

  • Sometimes seems like high school. I recommend that serious students attend, if possible, a different junior college than the one closest to your home. That way, you meet new friends, and are not hanging out with all your high school buddies, some of whom don't know why they are there!

    Do yourself a favor and hang out with people who are like-minded, with a focus on college and success.

  • You are still living at home. This is a toughie. Here you thought you'd be going away, and it seems as if you are still in high school. Have heart, the two years will fly by.


    The Student Con Artist

    There are those students who convince their parents that a community college in another city wherein is located a major university. The "Con" being that the student will have an automatic pass into the four-year after completing community college.

    • Not true

    • Expensive
  • If you are academically unprepared for college, which sometimes indicates a lack of academic motivation or maturity, what makes you think you are now ready to live on your own, in a college atmosphere, with other junior college students just like you, some of whom are not there to be serious students?
  • By the way, we all mature at different rates. There is no law that says you have to know what you want to do with your life when you are 17-18 years old. Spend some time thinking about your future and what you think you might want to do. Most people change their minds several times, and many people change careers several times during their working lifetime.

  • The "college experience" is a privilege, not a right, and you have to earn the privilege. You should know that people in the regular four-year college in that city to which you aspire, look down on those dorm-living, partying community college students as "wannabees."



    While you are in junior college:

    • Think about getting an AA (Associate of Arts, two-year) degree. Should you decide not to continue on to a four-year, an AA degree will help you get a job as compared to having "taken a few college classes."
    • Consult a counselor at the college to be sure you are taking the correct classes you will need to apply to a four- year institution

    • In your freshman year at a J.C., look online at the schools that interest you

      • Study your community college's requirements for transfer student applications

      • Look at the essay topics on the transfer application

      • Keep your grades up
    • Stay active in your community - colleges will ask about

      Extracurricular activities and may require that you write your application essays about extracurricular activities, a job, or volunteering

    • Learn to study effectively. College is demanding and the key is to study smarter, not harder. Take study skills classes.

    • Keep up with your classes. You are not in high school and it will be harder, with longer reading requirements and more work.

    • Read some of the books your college professors will want you to have read.

    • Become familiar with literature works that your professors will quote.

    • Pass any remedial classes you may be in and move on to regular college courses.

    • Learn to write a college level essay, and a college level research paper.

    • Learn to look at both sides of an issue and state an informed opinion.

    • Don't plagiarize anyone's work. Follow citation rules exactly.

  • Search the more than 1200 community colleges in the United States

    California Community Colleges

    Search Junior Colleges, trade schools, technical schools, and everything else

    Community College Finder

    Transferring to another school or to a 4-year college?

    General Education online: Find a college in your neighborhood

    Interested in sports in junior college? National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)



    From UCLA: Community Colleges: Resources and Info

    U.S. Department of State, College and University Education in the U.S.

    U.S. Department of Education: Community Colleges Site


    Free Textbooks-Save thousands while in college

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