Community college a better option to start college?

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mathwhiz
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Community college a better option to start college?

Post by mathwhiz » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:32 pm

Isn't this the most bogleish college savings plan? Encourage your child to live at home and attend community college for the first two years to save money, then transfer to a public state university?

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by ieee488 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:39 pm

Not just transfer but most have relationships with 4-year colleges where the courses you take are guaranteed to transfer.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Slapshot » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:42 pm

Based on our experience, saving money might be only one factor. One of our sons attended community college in Mass. because we wanted him to prove to us that he would take college seriously before we shelled out the big bucks. His experience was enlightening. Once he got past the first semester and all the do-nothings were weeded out, he got a better education than many of his friends who attended 4 year schools. In his last 3 semesters he was in classes with 15 or 20 students taking the same courses that his friends were taking at UMass and similar places in lecture halls with 300-400 students. And once he finished up his Associate's Degree of 2 years, he transferred to UMass as a first semester junior with all his credits accepted. He wished that the community college was a 4-year degree school because he enjoyed it so much.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by JupiterJones » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:04 pm

If, by "better option", you mean "costs less that just going right into a typical four-year institution", then yes... Community College then a transfer is generally the better bet.

Of course, there are other factors besides cost that may or may not come into play.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Mike Scott » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:08 pm

It can be; but you want to check out the transfer credit policies and any articulation agreements before you start. There may also be some technical programs that have very specific prerequisite courses that the community college can't do for you. In this case, one year of the community college may be about the best you can get. You need to research the programs the student might transfer into later to make sure that the community college time is helpful. Scholarship considerations are another thing; the best scholarships are offered to newly graduated, incoming freshmen at the 4 year schools and transfer students typically don't get much.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Meg77 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:16 pm

That can be a good option, especially for kids who may not be socially or academically prepared for a 4 year college or for living on their own. And of course that strategy would save money if you don't quite have enough to swing 4 years at a 4 year university (and/or don't qualify for loans/grants).

However there are costs, both social and academic that need to be considered. Part of the benefit of college is getting away from home out from under the parents' wings, learning to be independent, and mixing with people from a diverse background socio-economically, racially and intellectually. Living at home and going to "Grade 13" at a community college down the road with a bunch of kids you've known your whole life (which is what many of my peers from our rural hometown did instead of going "off to" the state schools) may not challenge your child to grow, learn or explore quite like a 4 year university farther from home might. It also is unlikely to expose him or her to a new network of people that may open new doors to job opportunities if he or she never makes the jump to the 4 year school (which many never do for a variety of reasons).

In addition, your child will miss out on opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities at either school, either because they are planning to leave after a year or two (at the community college) or because bonds and peer groupls are fully formed when they arrive (at the four year school).

It's a great Plan B, but I often feel like students who transfer into four year schools have difficulty adjusting to the academic rigor and cultivating a robust social life on campus. They end up paying the same big sticker tuition for 2 years but miss out on most of the benefits of campus life that are most easily taken advantage of in the early years - getting involved in campus organizations, studying abroad, exploring a wide variety of electives, and even possibly forming deeper friendships that are common in those early college years.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by carolinaman » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:24 pm

I went to college at night while working fulltime. First 2 years were at local CC and last 2 years at state university. Since I was a night student, I did not get into the social aspects of college which might make a difference for an 18 year old. However, it worked really well for me. It saved a lot of money and I was well prepared for 4 year university when I transferred.

I think it is a very viable option, especially when you are concerned about whether your child is ready for college. CCs are as demanding and also more supportive of students than most 4 year schools, especially large state universities. OTOH, if there is a 4 year state school within commuting distance, that could be a good option too if you think your child is ready.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Leesbro63 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:39 pm

One of the negatives that I've seen with Community College...in some but certainly not all cases...is that the culture of academia just isn't there. There's a huge drop out rate. So a student who is marginally motivated might be brought UP by the culture at a traditional 4 year college while that same student might fall on the other side of the margin in the "maybe I'll try out college" culture. In theory, going to a CC while living at home then transferring can be a huge dollar saver. In reality how many CC students actually end up getting a 4 year degree, and will this culture actually do more harm than spending the bucks for a traditional situation?

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by RadAudit » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:50 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:There's a huge drop out rate. So a student who is marginally motivated might be brought UP by the culture at a traditional 4 year college while that same student might fall on the other side of the margin in the "maybe I'll try out college" culture.
Good point. But - there are plenty of opportunities to party your way out of a 4 yr college, too. And it doesn't really matter when you get there (18, 20 or 22) - but 18 and fresh out of high school has unique risks for some.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by jmg229 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:54 pm

It depends on what a student views as the goals of going to college, in my opinion. If the goal is "piece of paper and associated courses for as little money as possible", then yes. But if the goals involve development of certain adult habits (like living on your own, managing your own time and money), or getting involved in new organizations and activities, or developing a strong adult/professional social network, then maybe not.

I think that it very much depends on the student and why they are going to college. For me, I would've not gotten the education that I did at my 4-year school at a community college, I wouldn't have gotten involved in the groups that ultimately helped me determine my future career, and I wouldn't have learned the life skills I needed to learn by getting out of the house. My adult life has also been greatly improved by the relationships formed at my 4-year university, both those formed with peers and those formed with mentors and advisors. These relationships were, in many cases, cultivated over many years.

If a student has a direct path in mind that can be met with the plan outlined and does not have interest in outside activities beyond those already developed and has a strong network at home and already has or is not ready to learn the skills for living on their own, maybe it does make sense. But, in my opinion, I paid for a lot more than a piece of paper when I went to college and sometimes minimizing costs to earn a degree is too narrow of a lens.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Noynek » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:04 pm

Yes. Community college is a great option. I did two years of community college in upstate NY and then did my last two years of school at a good private school in NC. The financial savings were huge.

I'll give you a great example....two good friends of mine are brothers....one went to community college for two years and then got offered a full ride to finish the last two years at a top engineering school (RPI). His brother did all 4 years at RPI. They each graduated at the same time and have the same exact degree. One has 200k in student loans the other has none.

As long as the students GPA is above a 3.0 or even better a 3.5 then most schools that they are looking into will offer scholarships. Most will offer scholarships that will cover 1/3 of tuition if not more.

I'm thankful that I went to community college. If not it would have cost a lot more for me to get my bachelors. I would have double the amount of student loans if I didn't go to community college.

The other great thing and why I tell lots of high school students this is that most don't know what they want to major in. Those first two years they'll change majors multiple times and finally by junior year figure out what they want to do.

Professors? The professors I had in community college were great and most had advanced degrees.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by mlipps » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:06 pm

My husband did this, but took it one step further. In Ohio, students have the option to take community college as their junior and senior year of high school. The credits are guaranteed to transfer to any public institution and the state covers the tuition. He graduated with his Bachelor's at 20 and 4 years later is making nearly 6 figures. I think it's a great option for the right student and sometimes wish I'd done the same.

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stemikger
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by stemikger » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:13 pm

mathwhiz wrote:Isn't this the most bogleish college savings plan? Encourage your child to live at home and attend community college for the first two years to save money, then transfer to a public state university?
My daughter is going into her second year. Although she is not in a community college, she is going to a CUNY (City University of New York). It is one of their Senior colleges, but they also have community colleges in the CUNY system where you can transfer to one of their senior colleges. The college has a good reputation and it's 2 miles from home. I'm able to cash flow her tuition and she will graduate without a loan.

I think starting at a Community College or enrolling in an affordable public college is the smartest way to go. You get a college degree without a loan.

Just think how much less stress you will have when you graduate without a loan and can't find a job right away or have to take a lower paying job. You will not have that big loan hanging over your head.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Dave76 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:15 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:One of the negatives that I've seen with Community College...in some but certainly not all cases...is that the culture of academia just isn't there. There's a huge drop out rate. So a student who is marginally motivated might be brought UP by the culture at a traditional 4 year college while that same student might fall on the other side of the margin in the "maybe I'll try out college" culture. In theory, going to a CC while living at home then transferring can be a huge dollar saver. In reality how many CC students actually end up getting a 4 year degree, and will this culture actually do more harm than spending the bucks for a traditional situation?
I didn't care what the other students were doing at my junior college. I studied hard and graduated in two years.

The teaching-led community college has its pros and cons. Community college professors care more about teaching than research. In the research-led colleges and universities, the professors care more about their research than their teaching. The biology professor at the top-notch R1 is there to perform world-class research. His job is to bring glory to the university, not to help the undergraduate students. Why do you think so many courses are farmed out to the teaching assistants? Those professors are too busy seeking research grants and going on endless sabbaticals. Teaching is the number one priority for the community colleges. Research is the number one priority for the research-led institutions.

CC -- teaching quality is high; research output is either low or non-existent; professors are easily accessible.

Research-led institution -- quality of research is high; quality of teaching is low; professors are absent half the time.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by MindBogler » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Meg77 wrote:It's a great Plan B, but I often feel like students who transfer into four year schools have difficulty adjusting to the academic rigor and cultivating a robust social life on campus. They end up paying the same big sticker tuition for 2 years but miss out on most of the benefits of campus life that are most easily taken advantage of in the early years - getting involved in campus organizations, studying abroad, exploring a wide variety of electives, and even possibly forming deeper friendships that are common in those early college years.
I went to a CC for 2 years, transferred to a state U and had no trouble with the supposed "rigor" of the institution compared to CC. I can't speak for every state or circumstances, but why would universities honor community college credits with direct transfer programs if there were any question about the rigor? There is an unfortunate, elitist stigma that is applied to CC education which is entirely unfounded in my personal experience. The community college I went to had campus organizations, opportunities to study abroad, a wide variety of electives and I even formed some friendships. Did I go to a university by mistake?! :confused

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by MindBogler » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:45 pm

Dave76 wrote:
Leesbro63 wrote:One of the negatives that I've seen with Community College...in some but certainly not all cases...is that the culture of academia just isn't there. There's a huge drop out rate. So a student who is marginally motivated might be brought UP by the culture at a traditional 4 year college while that same student might fall on the other side of the margin in the "maybe I'll try out college" culture. In theory, going to a CC while living at home then transferring can be a huge dollar saver. In reality how many CC students actually end up getting a 4 year degree, and will this culture actually do more harm than spending the bucks for a traditional situation?
I didn't care what the other students were doing at my junior college. I studied hard and graduated in two years.

The teaching-led community college has its pros and cons. Community college professors care more about teaching than research. In the research-led colleges and universities, the professors care more about their research than their teaching. The biology professor at the top-notch R1 is there to perform world-class research. His job is to bring glory to the university, not to help the undergraduate students. Why do you think so many courses are farmed out to the teaching assistants? Those professors are too busy seeking research grants and going on endless sabbaticals. Teaching is the number one priority for the community colleges. Research is the number one priority for the research-led institutions.

CC -- teaching quality is high; research output is either low or non-existent; professors are easily accessible.

Research-led institution -- quality of research is high; quality of teaching is low; professors are absent half the time.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by jmg229 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:47 pm

Dave76 wrote: The teaching-led community college has its pros and cons. Community college professors care more about teaching than research. In the research-led colleges and universities, the professors care more about their research than their teaching. The biology professor at the top-notch R1 is there to perform world-class research. His job is to bring glory to the university, not to help the undergraduate students. Why do you think so many courses are farmed out to the teaching assistants? Those professors are too busy seeking research grants and going on endless sabbaticals. Teaching is the number one priority for the community colleges. Research is the number one priority for the research-led institutions.

CC -- teaching quality is high; research output is either low or non-existent; professors are easily accessible.

Research-led institution -- quality of research is high; quality of teaching is low; professors are absent half the time.
I don't know that I agree with this as a rule. I had and now know a number of R1 professors who are also excellent teachers and who take interest in their undergrads. My advisors and professors throughout my undergrad were excellent and I got classroom experiences that my peers that went to other schools absolutely did not. Were there professors who were as you described? Absolutely. But I don't think that you can say this is a rule and it emphasizes the need to choose your university and even department within that university wisely.

Also, again, depending on what the student wants, being at a place where "quality of research is high" certainly has its advantages. For example, if the student has an interest in being involved in that research.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by novaboglehead » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:50 pm

I work at a community college. I was not much of fan prior to working at one, but I am sold on them. I would send my kids to one with no hesitation. In VA, CC graduates have guaranteed admissions to a four year institution. Many of the professors are working/have worked in the field they teach so students get "real world" examples in the classroom. The professors are also a good source of internship and job prospects for the students. How many professors at an average four year institution have worked outside of academia? Also, our students are taught by the actual professor listed on the schedule, not a teaching assistant. Since four year institutions rely so heavily on adjuncts, we probably have some of the same professors as your more expensive....I mean better :wink: ...school.

With the exception of fraternities/sororities, we have the same clubs every other college has. We even have a few sports teams. We even had a club hockey team at one point, but I'm not sure it is still there. Our students party and socialize as much as any other 18-24 year old. Many of them live in apartments with friends.

Drop-outs...yes, we have them. These are generally the older students and those who aren't sure about college. The traditional 18-23 year old tends to stick with it at about the same rate as at a 4 year school.

As far as fitting in or making new friends at a 4 year institution....unless, you have no social skills, this is nonsense. I went to a 4 year institution and made new friends every year. One of my best friends, transferred in after getting his degree at a CC. He made quite a few friends, including professors, that he still socializes with frequently 20 years later.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Sam I Am » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:50 pm

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Randomize » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Meg77 wrote: ...I often feel like students who transfer into four year schools have difficulty adjusting to the academic rigor and cultivating a robust social life on campus. They end up paying the same big sticker tuition for 2 years but miss out on most of the benefits of campus life that are most easily taken advantage of in the early years - getting involved in campus organizations, studying abroad, exploring a wide variety of electives, and even possibly forming deeper friendships that are common in those early college years.
I have to agree with this, but would like to expand on that and say that living off-campus was the issue more than the school itself. As a Freshman, I went to the local JC for a year before going to the dorms at UHawaii as a Sophomore. I made friends in Hawaii that I'm still in contact with 10 years later and while I did have relationships with people at the JC and then state school after transferring back as Junior and living off campus, no more of those deep relationships were developed. At both the JC and state school, since I didn't actually live there, it felt like just a place to go to class rather than a community.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by steve88 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:40 pm

My friend who is a counselor at a local community college mentioned the same pros that have already been posted. College savings, no debt etc... I asked him if his daughter who is a senior will be going to a community college. He said no. The reasons he gave was it was up to his daughter. Never once he mentioned about community college as an option.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by SSN688 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:55 pm

You need to consider the university or college that the student will transfer to, and field of study. In the 70s, I transferred from a CC to UC Berkeley (Physics) on a scholarship. It was like hitting a revolving door at 60 mph. 200+ in a class. Chem labs scheduled 24 hr/day. Indifferent TAs. Unobtainable instructors. Etc. At the time I attributed the difficulty to a "lesser" quality education at the CC. After a year at UCB, I transferred to UC Irvine because the UCB scholarship didn't cover the relatively high COL in the bay area, and jobs were few. At UCI, I was able to secure both a good part time job and continue with my education, this time a double major in EE and Physics. After a quarter at UCI, I was back on the Dean's List. The problems at UCB were as much those of the school's culture, as the "lesser" education at the CC. Side note: I ran into a couple of UCB friends in grad school. While they had done well at UCB, they failed miserably in their grad education. In contrast, I did well and enjoyed the experience. Bottom line: The quality of the education is what you make it. Get personalized instruction from the best teachers you can (not necessarily Nobel Prize winners!), and plan your education over more than just the initial 2 years.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by joe8d » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:57 pm

mathwhiz wrote:Isn't this the most bogleish college savings plan? Encourage your child to live at home and attend community college for the first two years to save money, then transfer to a public state university?
Most definitly. In WNY,we have four local SUNY CC Campuses which award an Associate Degree after 2 years with the option to transfer to any 4 year School in the SUNY system.
BTW, I graduated from a SUNY CC myself over 50 years ago with an AAS in Chemistry. That was a major accomplishment for a working class kid at that time.
i agree with all the pro comments on this thread and I really enjoyed my time at the school.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by widestance » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:16 pm

I always recommend this for a number of reasons:
1) A lot of students don't know what they want to major in. CC gives them an opportunity to try a variety of subject matters to help them "find themselves" economically.
2) Core undergraduate class sizes tends to be MUCH smaller than 4 year institutions giving the student a more personalized learning experience with direct access to the professors. Sit in on a Calculus or Physics 101 class at a 4 year and you'll understand what i'm saying.
3) I also recommend students try to take all of their core (transferable) classes ahead of time before transferring.
3) Cost. Clearly it's cheaper to do the CC route for a few years while accomplishing items 1, 2, and 3.

PS - Don't bother with an AA degree unless you don't plan on going further. Sometimes the coursework required to get an AA at the CC isn't transferable (because they can be duplicative in nature) or necessary to get your BA/BS.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by FNK » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:27 pm

Slapshot wrote:One of our sons attended community college in Mass.
Sounds interesting. Would you share which college it was?

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by joe8d » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:32 pm

PS - Don't bother with an AA degree unless you don't plan on going further. Sometimes the coursework required to get an AA at the CC isn't transferable (because they can be duplicative in nature) or necessary to get your BA/BS.
Our CC's offer 2 paths,One is the first 2 years of college with the intention to transfer, the other is the Associates Degree program.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by tibbitts » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:46 pm

My experience has been that for most students, the community college experience is better. It was for me. You just need to be careful that you enroll in a program from which your credits will transfer. Most community colleges have cooperative arrangements with 4yr colleges, and are very specific in their catalogs as to which programs will provide transfer credits and which won't.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Dale_G » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:25 pm

I am fully in favor of living on campus from the git-go. Forget the party crap, there is something about living away from home that is enlightening/empowering/educational. On campus students enjoy some level of camaraderie that is absent among commuters - and besides most of the on campus students will learn how to do laundry (which is itself a valuable skill), rather than foisting it off on mommy.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by joe8d » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:39 pm

Dale_G wrote:I am fully in favor of living on campus from the git-go. Forget the party crap, there is something about living away from home that is enlightening/empowering/educational. On campus students enjoy some level of camaraderie that is absent among commuters - and besides most of the on campus students will learn how to do laundry (which is itself a valuable skill), rather than foisting it off on mommy.

Dale

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While i lived at home during college, i got those other expeiences shortly there after in the Army.Military Obligation was required back then :happy i have to add that both were worthwhile and rewarding
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by donaldfair71 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:51 pm

ieee488 wrote:Not just transfer but most have relationships with 4-year colleges where the courses you take are guaranteed to transfer.
This is how it is at the local community here in Va. NOVA CC has an agreement with basically all the public schools in VA that the courses are guaranteed to transfer. A very good deal when you figure UVa, Virginia Tech, College of William and Mary, and many other great to excellent schools are included in the agreement.

They even have "Articulated Agreements" where many out of state schools will accept the credit in most circumstances.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by donaldfair71 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:56 pm

MindBogler wrote:
Meg77 wrote:It's a great Plan B, but I often feel like students who transfer into four year schools have difficulty adjusting to the academic rigor and cultivating a robust social life on campus. They end up paying the same big sticker tuition for 2 years but miss out on most of the benefits of campus life that are most easily taken advantage of in the early years - getting involved in campus organizations, studying abroad, exploring a wide variety of electives, and even possibly forming deeper friendships that are common in those early college years.
I went to a CC for 2 years, transferred to a state U and had no trouble with the supposed "rigor" of the institution compared to CC. I can't speak for every state or circumstances, but why would universities honor community college credits with direct transfer programs if there were any question about the rigor? There is an unfortunate, elitist stigma that is applied to CC education which is entirely unfounded in my personal experience. The community college I went to had campus organizations, opportunities to study abroad, a wide variety of electives and I even formed some friendships. Did I go to a university by mistake?! :confused
Couldn't agree more. I thought CC helped me greatly. I was a sub 2.0 student in high school, went to Penn State Branch Campus CC where I had some support (Study Skills, college writing, etc.) and transferred to WVU. I thought the rigor at WVU (granted, WVU is not Harvard, but still, a major university) was about the same as CC. My grades actually went up, wound up getting out Magna Cum Laude. Had I gone straight out of high school (not that I could have gotten in), I would have last 2 semester tops.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by ClevrChico » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:02 pm

I attended a CC with an established relationship with a university. All credits transferred, and it was a wonderful experience.

Most of the instructors had industry experience and were great. Classes were small, 8 - 30 students.

I did miss out on a degree with a "vanity" name. I didn't study abroad, and there wasn't much of a party culture. I did graduate without debt, and believe I got a great education. :happy

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Dave76 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:35 pm

jmg229 wrote:
Also, again, depending on what the student wants, being at a place where "quality of research is high" certainly has its advantages. For example, if the student has an interest in being involved in that research.
That's fine for graduate level study, not undergraduate level study. Also, a 'taught' degree program (eg. M.Ed.) is best done at a teaching-led institution. MRes, EdD, PhD programs are in the domain of the research institutions, naturally.

Two professors at a research institution once told me that "research informs teaching." That's one of the biggest lies in academe. I asked them: "Have you ever groomed a TA for the classroom/lecture hall?" They never did. Most of them don't know how because they've always focused on their arcane research interests, not teaching. This was in Britain, by the way.

It's 'publish or perish' in the research-led institution. It is okay for the professor to be a bad teacher there, as long as he publishes. If the professor is a great teacher but does not publish, he will perish. This is why teaching is not a priority for them.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by RobInCT » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:43 am

I think as with most things this really depends on the student, the student's strengths and weaknesses, goals and needs. I would definitely recommend that students consider 2 years of community college with a transfer to a 4 year state school as one among many potential paths to a college degree, but there is no way I would say this is the "best" or the "right" path for everyone.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Alexandria » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:04 am

ieee488 wrote:Not just transfer but most have relationships with 4-year colleges where the courses you take are guaranteed to transfer.
Agreed with this and the OP.

I am surprised at the (negative) perception of community college, particularly in online message board environments. We actually have some very highly regarded community colleges in our region. The one I am thinking of; the kids couldn't live at home. But, even living in the most expensive city in the U.S., and sticking close to home for college, I moved out on my own at 18 and had a nice rent deal for $400/month. We have family there so could maybe arrange a housing deal for the kids. I suppose I am annoyed when the assumption is always you have to live at home if you don't go away to college. Thankfully there is a lot of middle ground. (State and Community College is so inexpensive here, that the room and board may be easier to stomach. I understand in other regions that living at home would make the most sense. But I also think a child can work to pay room and board if the parents are footing a bigger college bill).

My 10-year-old has a high IQ and is obviously going places, but I'd rather save the money for Grad school. Community College + guaranteed University spot is a solid avenue.

Obviously, YMMV. I don't think community college is right for *every* situation or child or field of study. BUT, am just often surprised how little consideration the community college route gets from more fiscally minded friends. I skipped community college, but my entire education only cost $10k at State. Since I have two kids close in age, I think we will be far more likely to push community college on them, to avoid paying for two Universities in any single year. Community college cost "pennies," here.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:39 am

Dave76 wrote:...
I asked them: "Have you ever groomed a TA for the classroom/lecture hall?" They never did. Most of them don't know how because they've always focused on their arcane research interests, not teaching. This was in Britain, by the way.
...
Where I went, which was in the United States, we prospective TAs without prior college teaching experience had to take a 3 semester-hour graduate-level course on how to plan and teach a course. It didn't count toward any degree; wasn't counted toward a full-time course load; and the tuition was not covered by your grant if you had one. If you wanted to teach, you took applied to take it, and it was not easy. Far from everybody made it through the semester (although dropping it didn't affect your graduate student status - it just meant you were ineligible for any teaching job). It helped me greatly, and was itself taught by a highly-experienced full professor who was well regarded for both research and teaching. Those who had completed it retained access to that professor to help them with any problems they were having in the job in future semesters.

Each TA had an immediate supervisor who was at least an associate professor (i.e., one who has been granted tenure after their 7-year apprenticeship period). The supervisors were required to approve your syllabus; attend at least two classes; and give coaching based on what they'd observed. They also decided whether you were qualified to teach in the future.

The how-to-teach-a-course course was a requirement of the university. Each department organized its own, oriented toward the subjects their own TAs would be covering.

PJW

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Calm Man » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:20 pm

I will proceed with the disclaimer that this post may be perceived as elitist and I am not. I am "practical" at least in my opinion and basing my statements on my observations, which admittedly are not reflective of everything in the world. It depends what you want to be when you grow up. People can say whatever they like. In my field (medicine) I have never seen an entrant into medical school who went to community college. I hope to hear an exception here to show the rule. I can't imagine applying to an Ivy League graduate school or a top undergraduate university and not having a whole lot of explaining to do about going to community college. Despite all the good features, the competition is indeed not the keenest and an A at a community college doesn't have the gravitas of an A at another school. Understood that this comes from a man who a little more than 40 years ago had to face precisely this decision as I was from a lower middle class situation but knew I had high professional aspirations. I went to a private selective school, \borrowed what I had to and my plan worked. Those who went to CC lived at home with their mother and father for a few more years, didn't get to branch out or make new types of peers for a long time and well, had a different path. I expect maximal pushback from those who went or have kids going the CC route as the law of cognitive dissonance will apply. I suppose for those who either don't want to spend the money or can't afford it and are lockied into going to a state school that will take the credits, well I guess CC works. My thoughts about the limitations still apply and it is not worth our engaging in whether it is better to go to State University than Harvard or Yale. Exceptions to my observations about entry into medical school or highly selective universities or graduate schools are welcome.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:50 pm

Why am I suddenly thinking of Wossamotta U; The Harvard School of Watch Repair - "Good o'l Tick-Tock Tech"; and Tick-Tock Tech's arch rival, Barely Normal?
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:08 pm

Hi Calm Man - your observations are your own, but I believe they reflect survivorship bias. That you made it through is commendable. The people who had no choice other than Community College or no college at all never entered your circles. The people who got into Harvard by transferring their CC credits are not existent, as Harvard and many of its peers accept no transfer credits at all.

The MDs who struggled through, made it into local colleges, and to and through state medical schools and have intentionally given up income to practice in their own communities, like Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, may not fit your model (although admittedly she did not go to CC; but rather directly to Xavier University of Louisiana).

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:29 pm

There are four types of high-school graduates with their respective optimal education paths.
1. Not college material.
Pursue occupations not requiring college education.

2. Able but lazy.
Community college is a good way to check which trait would win.

3. College material.
In-state state school and then a graduate schools of their choice.

4. Outstanding student.
Harvard/Princeton/Yale/Stanford.

If a student fits into any of the higher categories, in my opinion, the parents should do whatever it takes to support her.

Victoria
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by ThatGuy » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:35 pm

Calm Man wrote:In my field (medicine) I have never seen an entrant into medical school who went to community college. I hope to hear an exception here to show the rule.
I know two, however they only got into UCLA med, and this being bogleheads, that doesn't count for nearly as much as an ivy. Of course, I'm just some random guy on the 'net.

Of course, I also know several prior CC students who went on to achieve PhD's in various engineering disciplines. One even went to Stanford.
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:38 pm

Calm Man wrote:I will proceed with the disclaimer that this post may be perceived as elitist and I am not. I am "practical" at least in my opinion and basing my statements on my observations, which admittedly are not reflective of everything in the world. It depends what you want to be when you grow up. People can say whatever they like. In my field (medicine) I have never seen an entrant into medical school who went to community college. I hope to hear an exception here to show the rule. I can't imagine applying to an Ivy League graduate school or a top undergraduate university and not having a whole lot of explaining to do about going to community college. Despite all the good features, the competition is indeed not the keenest and an A at a community college doesn't have the gravitas of an A at another school. Understood that this comes from a man who a little more than 40 years ago had to face precisely this decision as I was from a lower middle class situation but knew I had high professional aspirations. I went to a private selective school, \borrowed what I had to and my plan worked. Those who went to CC lived at home with their mother and father for a few more years, didn't get to branch out or make new types of peers for a long time and well, had a different path. I expect maximal pushback from those who went or have kids going the CC route as the law of cognitive dissonance will apply. I suppose for those who either don't want to spend the money or can't afford it and are lockied into going to a state school that will take the credits, well I guess CC works. My thoughts about the limitations still apply and it is not worth our engaging in whether it is better to go to State University than Harvard or Yale. Exceptions to my observations about entry into medical school or highly selective universities or graduate schools are welcome.
What you're missing is that many of us are recommending community college for most students. Most students aren't capable of even gaining admission into the kinds of institutions you're talking about, much less graduating, and that has nothing to do with where they attend the first two years of college. Most students just aren't smart enough, or hard working enough, or have whatever other combination of qualities are required.

If you're smart enough, those prestigious institutions might fight over you, and you might not have to pay to attend school at all, anywhere you choose. If you're smart, but not quite that smart, you might benefit from paying for more expensive and prestigious schools. But that's still not even close to most students, it's more like the top 5% or, maybe, 10%.

Also, what applied to you forty years ago, with regard to the relative costs of different institutions, really has nothing to do with today. My father worked part-time and ended up with no debts at all for his all-ivy-league undergrad and MD, but this isn't the 1930s. You might still be paying off loans forty years after you graduated if you started out today.

Paul

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by RobInCT » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:41 pm

I'm going to repost here what I posted in another thread, which is that I think educational advice on this forum often suffers because it's very difficult to judge the academic potential or career prospects of the person asking the question, and the people responding (like me) generally have personal experience of only one very limited segment of the workforce.

Yes, going to community college is a bad idea if you want to be a doctor. Some people do. Not everyone does. Some people aren't sure, in which case it might be best to err on the side of going to the better institution to keep one's options open. On the other hand, some people would love to go to med school but struggled to get a B- in non-honors high school biology, in which case planning college choices around med school seems like a bad idea.

There is no good answer to this question that can be had on an internet discussion forum. Most people can tell you whether community college is a good idea for people at their general level in their general profession. However, unless the person asking the question wants to be in the profession of the person answering, this information is of little benefit to the asker. What kind of college is right for anyone is a function of that person's academic potential (something strangers on the internet cannot assess), that person's professional goals (which may or may not be known even to the person themselves), and a million other factors including the person's maturity, diligence, financial resources, independence and many other things that cannot effectively be assessed by someone who has never met the person.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by RobInCT » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:56 pm

Alexandria wrote:My 10-year-old has a high IQ and is obviously going places, but I'd rather save the money for Grad school. Community College + guaranteed University spot is a solid avenue.
High-achieving high school students can often get academic scholarships to 4-year state universities.

As for the assertion that there are four types of high school graduates, I strongly disagree. There are almost as many kinds of high school graduates as there are students. For example, there are also the very diligent but not terrible academically gifted high-stress kids who can probably get into the flagship state school because diligence is 90% of good grades in high school but who might buckle under the stress of it, whereas s/he might thrive being among the "stars" at the community college level. There are also the less ambitious, go-with-the-flow kids who tend to rise (or sink) to the level of their environment and who would benefit from being in a slightly more competitive academic space where more was expected of them. Then there are the kids who have grown up in a rather sheltered environment who may need to be forced away from home to expose them to more of the world.

I think parents, guidance counselors, and others can do a real disservice to kids by pushing on them ANY one-size-fits-all approach to higher education.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:04 pm

VictoriaF wrote:There are four types of high-school graduates with their respective optimal education paths.
1. Not college material.
Pursue occupations not requiring college education.

2. Able but lazy.
Community college is a good way to check which trait would win.

3. College material.
In-state state school and then a graduate schools of their choice.

4. Outstanding student.
Harvard/Princeton/Yale/Stanford.

If a student fits into any of the higher categories, in my opinion, the parents should do whatever it takes to support her.

Victoria
Should, yes, if reasonably doable.

My experience was one of extremely low community expectations. Success was a good job, like, for example, cashier at a grocery store.

Everybody else was exposed to the likelihood of physical injury and disability.

People shooting grocery store cashiers wasn't a thing at the time.

My parents thought college was a good idea, but were against where I went (too far away) and what I studied. To their credit, they reduced my reliance on credit by helping with the first year's tuition. After then they were unemployed and couldn't do anything even if they wanted to.

We bogleheads, in my opinion, frequently forget just how fortunate we are.

PJW

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:12 pm

Calm Man wrote:I have never seen an entrant into medical school who went to community college.
My community college claimed several MD's as alumni.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:14 pm

RobInCT wrote:As for the assertion that there are four types of high school graduates, I strongly disagree. There are almost as many kinds of high school graduates as there are students. For example, there are also the very diligent but not terrible academically gifted high-stress kids who can probably get into the flagship state school because diligence is 90% of good grades in high school but who might buckle under the stress of it, whereas s/he might thrive being among the "stars" at the community college level.
I was a TA in Thermodynamics, the most feared required engineering course in a large Big-Ten school. I had diligent-but-not-brilliant students who did well and brilliant-but-not-diligent students who did poorly. Frequently, the difference was in their willingness to come to my seminars and office hours to discuss difficult issues.
RobInCT wrote:There are also the less ambitious, go-with-the-flow kids who tend to rise (or sink) to the level of their environment and who would benefit from being in a slightly more competitive academic space where more was expected of them. Then there are the kids who have grown up in a rather sheltered environment who may need to be forced away from home to expose them to more of the world.
Peer environment matters. Put an able student into an ambitious peer environment and she will excel. Put her into a slacker environment and she will be slacking. And if she has enough willpower to resist the slacking environment, the parents are doing her a disservice by not letting her to achieve greater success.
RobInCT wrote:I think parents, guidance counselors, and others can do a real disservice to kids by pushing on them ANY one-size-fits-all approach to higher education.
One-size-fits-all sounds horrible and probably no one is using it anyway. In my opinion, both students and parents should strive for the highest level of education possible.

Victoria
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by jridger2011 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:15 pm

One thing to point out is that community college has a different experience for an average student from high school. The crowd at community colleges can be average high school graduates, recent immigrants (struggle with English), and older students. Depending on where you are, it skews towards more recent immigrants and older students which is not the same experience as a state or private college. The drop out rate is also high since the older students usually have jobs, children, and other things in their life. I worked at a community college and I can say it's great for some students but the experience will not be the same.

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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:20 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:There are four types of high-school graduates with their respective optimal education paths.
1. Not college material.
Pursue occupations not requiring college education.

2. Able but lazy.
Community college is a good way to check which trait would win.

3. College material.
In-state state school and then a graduate schools of their choice.

4. Outstanding student.
Harvard/Princeton/Yale/Stanford.

If a student fits into any of the higher categories, in my opinion, the parents should do whatever it takes to support her.

Victoria
Should, yes, if reasonably doable.

My experience was one of extremely low community expectations. Success was a good job, like, for example, cashier at a grocery store.

Everybody else was exposed to the likelihood of physical injury and disability.

People shooting grocery store cashiers wasn't a thing at the time.

My parents thought college was a good idea, but were against where I went (too far away) and what I studied. To their credit, they reduced my reliance on credit by helping with the first year's tuition. After then they were unemployed and couldn't do anything even if they wanted to.

We bogleheads, in my opinion, frequently forget just how fortunate we are.

PJW
You did very well considering the background. In my classification, you were College Material. You and your parents have recognized that and acted accordingly. This was very fortunate.

The problem is that Bogleheads--as a group--tend to get preoccupied with cutting costs and start doing it indiscriminately. Choosing low-cost index funds or Casio watches is not equivalent to depriving the child of the best intellectual path possible.

Victoria
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Re: Community college a better option to start college?

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:25 pm

mathwhiz wrote:Isn't this the most bogleish college savings plan? Encourage your child to live at home and attend community college for the first two years to save money, then transfer to a public state university?
In my opinion, this is primarily an issue of what you and child can afford:

1. If it takes community college to avoid significant student debt, then that is the answer;

2. If you and child can pay for the higher cost of Flagship State University without incurring signigficant student debt, then that is the answer.

Be aware of transferability of credits issues, and your child's readiness to be on his/her own at a large impersonal instituion. And also be aware of financial aid packages offered for the first year only, that may not be renewed for later years.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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