Top 5 Community College Myths

by Chad Agrawal

Community college has been called 13th grade, it has been stereotyped as a path for students that are disadvantaged in some way, and it is considered by some to be the bottom rung in the arena of collegiate academia. But despite detractors (which are few and far between, by the way), community college is really an opportunity for students to advance on their educational paths. And for many, it is the first step towards success in higher education and ultimately, a rewarding career. So here are just a few myths about community college, debunked.

It's cheap. In truth, it's fair to say that community college is an inexpensive option, since "cheap" implies that the services offered are somehow lacking. While it's true that the cost of tuition is far less at most community colleges than it is at other colleges and universities, you will still face many of the same expenses that are found with other institutions of higher learning, such as the cost for textbooks, lodging, and transportation. That said, it is almost always less expensive to attend community college as opposed to other institutions of higher learning. But don't expect it to come for free.

It's easy. Just because most community colleges have lower GPA requirements for admission doesn't mean that students can squeak by without showing up to class or studying for tests, so don't expect to skate through with nothing more than a wink and a smile. You're going to have to apply yourself if you want to succeed, and if you assume that community college courses are going to be easy just because these schools are trying to help students that have, for one reason or another, failed to obtain a stellar GPA in high school, you've got another thing coming.

You can only obtain vocational training. While most community colleges do offer vocational coursework that will prepare students to take certification testing (in the field of nursing, for example), the main purpose of such schools is to offer underprivileged students the opportunity to earn at least a minimal degree (Associate's) as well as advance to an undergraduate program at another school. Further, attending a community college shows a desire to continue one's education, possibly despite setbacks (academically, financially, or otherwise) that have made it impossible to attend other types of schools. This is attractive to both universities and employers.

It's difficult to transfer. Nothing could be further from the truth! Consider how many students are applying for admission at universities as freshmen; by the time you're applying you'll be a junior, facing far less competition. In addition, many students will have dropped out by this point, giving you even more opportunity for acceptance. And besides that, community colleges work with state schools and universities to guarantee that students have the best chance for admission. They do this by including accepted coursework that meets the criteria of 4-year schools and in some cases offering prerequisite classes for certain majors at area universities (in order to ensure placement for students). In truth, community colleges are designed to get students to the next level.

The education is subpar. Because community college are less expensive, many people assume that the quality of education they offer is of the bargain basement variety (which is to say, useless). But community college coursework has to be at collegiate level in order to prepare students to go on to undergrad programs at 4-year institutions, which means they have to meet the same educational standards as any other college. While you might not find too many community college campuses listed in your executive MBA guides, they provide a viable option for students that want to go to college despite hardships that prevent them from attending a more expensive or prestigious school.

That's not all, learn how you can transfer to prestigious universities

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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