Transfer Colleges Help Students Escape the Community College Trap

by Chad Agrawal

Community College TrapCommunity colleges have been celebrated for creating an affordable learning environment open to more students as well as employing more professors, administrators and other staff in local economies. But junior colleges have also been chastised for allowing many students to drop in and out of classes for several years without ever achieving a degree or transferring to a university.

But according to a recent article in the New York Times, a “disparate group of colleges from across the country” are aiming to change this by encouraging community college students to become high-achieving graduates who can easily transfer to bachelor’s programs. Some students even transfer to Ivy League from community college.

A Coalition of Colleges

Building on a pre-existing program called American Honors, several colleges and universities which are both public and private, two-year and four-year, are aligning themselves to create an honors program that will help top community colleges students move on towards their degrees. Included in the list of colleges nationwide are 27 four-year schools ranging from heavy weights like Ohio State to smaller institutions.

Initial Success

In the spring, the program’s first group of 17 candidates graduated and was able to move on to prestigious “universities including Vanderbilt, Stanford and Georgetown.” Kasey Urquidez, an enrollment manager and the associate vice president of student affairs at the University of Arizona, believes that “there’s big potential” to be found in “community college transfers [who] are going to be more and more a part of the college picture.”

How the Alliance Works

One of the frustrating aspects of transferring form a two-year college to a four-year university is that many big institutions choose not to honor all the transfer credits because many community college courses are viewed as less rigorous. This ends up wasting time and funds for transfer students who must retake classes at the more expensive school.

In order to navigate this problem, many state universities have agreements with junior colleges within “their own states to automatically admit transfer students who meet certain academic standards and to accept certain credits.”

The alliance works similarly to this model. But it is bigger because it spans across the country with both private and state schools. While not all colleges in the coalition can “‘guarantee admission or transferring credits,’” the honors students will apply with a ‘“distinct advantage over other transfer applicants,’” Carolyn Dietel of Mount Holyoke College told the NY Times.

Options for Community College Transfers

For students who aren’t yet involved with the growing network of transfer schools, there are still many options open. While they will all require a fair amount of hard work and determination, these transfer school do provide competitive degrees and successful learning environments. Many schools like South University programs offer both onsite and online classes that work well for students who have daytime work schedules. Other options include looking at the state universities with which your community college is already connected.

As more policy makers and educators realize the value that community college transfers have to offer, programs like the nationwide alliance will hopefully foster more and more graduation success stories. You might be interested in checking out our resources on transferring to Ivy League schools like Harvard, Cornell or Stanford.

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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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