Community colleges seem to always get a bad reputation. A representative from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, an organization that concentrates on community college student development, highlights this when he says, “The top students at community colleges are among our country’s greatest assets.”
Famous community college alumni include Ross Perot, Tom Hanks, Calvin Klein and Walt Disney. Around 41% of traditional-aged college students begin their higher education journey at a community college, according to Everfi.
Let’s talk about some community college myths:
MYTH: A degree received from a community college is not worth as much as a degree from a university.
REALITY: When a student does well in community college, they have the ability to transfer to many of the country’s most prestigious universities. A myriad of community college graduates will head right into the workforce. According to American RadioWorks, “nearly 80 percent of first responders in the United States get their training at community college.” As well as, “more than 50 percent of new nurses and other healthcare workers are trained at community colleges.”
MYTH: Credits from community colleges won’t transfer to four-year universities.
REALITY: It is the responsibility of the student to look at what courses are accepted for transfer and those that are not. Many schools have “articulation agreements” with community colleges that outline what classes receive credit for comparable courses at their institution. Though, The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that “fewer students are transferring from community colleges to four-year colleges and universities.”
MYTH: The only people who attend community colleges are older students and people rejected everywhere.
REALITY: Community colleges are specifically designed to be flexible which leads to attracting students who work full-time. ACCT Now reports that “in 2016, most community college students attended classes part-time.” They also said, “most community college students fell into the ‘traditional’ 18-24 age range, in 2016, almost half of students were older adults age 25-59.”
MYTH: Community College is only for vocational and technical students.
REALITY: An assortment of majors are offered by community colleges. Lots of students decide to begin at a community college where they can take many (if not all) of their major prerequisites, and then go on to transfer to a four-year school. This means that their introductory classes would be smaller, then they can jump right into higher-level classes at a four-year school.
As the cost of traditional four-year schools steadily increases, community colleges are becoming more popular. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many students started to weigh the pros and cons of community college. Aside from the financial benefits, students found that community college was a good idea for them and their lifestyle. Many students found that the adjustment to college life was much easier while attending a community college. Those who may have been reluctant to community colleges at first may find themselves appreciating their virtues and benefits in the end.