A Community College Experience – What’s wrong with taking the extra time?
Leaving high school and taking the first steps towards redefining your career can at the best of times be daunting. Added to it the time commitment to pursue an academic degree with the added peer pressure throughout to perform can be a traumatic experience for many high schoolers. The undecisive or lower performers can experience and under-go a herculean task to decide or convince their folks about their hesitancy.
Any level of uncertainty or scruples at this point in time can lead to an immense backlash, due to the time, hopes, and financial commitment at-hand.
Gaining a degree may at times be the only priority on the parents’ agenda; with their expectations being paramount, a student – especially with low grades, can feel the ultimate coercion.
So, what choices do parents or students have at times like these?
Building a bridge to facilitate these different sentiments; to ensure the cardinal success of students, is where a community college comes to play. With its vehemence to streamline expectations and results, the benefits of attaining an associate degree at these intuitions can be tantamount to a mid-way degree, buying time and building confidence to ensure subsequent success at a university.
Attending a community college therefore can be expedient for students to calmly mitigate risks and transition into the world of higher education at the same time learn at their own pace; be it online (for a brief spell) or in a classroom. This can be truly beneficial for students who had struggled during high school or for any of those that we’re unsure if they want to make that epic decision of doing a four-year degree, keeping in mind the significant investment of time and money at stake.
It’s all about Money
College tuition fees can be a costly affair. It can be a determining factor for many. Whilst the average yearly tuition for a four-year program can set you back $35,676 USD for a Tier I University, and $15,000 for a lower-ranked institution, the contrasting community college can charge you about $3,660. It’s no reason why a community college can be a safer bet giving time to a student to subtly stay focused on studies at the same time plan ahead – either to pursue further education or work.
Indian Students are Finally attending Community Colleges
Overwhelmed by the cost of attending degree programs in the USA, the dispiriting and tedious application process, and not very transparent evaluation metrics, Indian students are now actively and increasingly looking at the study abroad opportunities in community colleges.
However, a misunderstood concept of community colleges leads to a limited fraction of the aspiring students actually studying in community colleges. But first things first.
What is a Community College?
For those new to the term, community or junior colleges are two-year schools that offer certificates and associate degrees to students. This two-year associate degree then allows the student to eventually transfer to a university to complete a bachelor’s degree in the next two years. So what does a community college have to offer an international student? There are a number of cogent reasons:
- Nominally priced
- Personalized attention
- Flexibility to learn
- STEM, Business, and analytical fields to choose from
- Ease of transitioning to a University of a higher rank
•It is cheaper hence affordable by the majority of Indian Students aspiring to pave their careers by studying abroad. American community colleges offer international students lower tuition rates on freshman and sophomore level classes- a cheaper entry point into their higher education pursuits. Students can then opt to transfer to a four-year university program and earn their bachelor’s degree. To put this into perspective, community college tuition can be as little as around $3,500 per year, compared to up to around $35,000 for out of-state-students attending a public university.
•Articulation Agreements are of great significance when the path to admission in top universities is being spoken about. These agreements are in fact transfer agreements signed between community colleges and four-year universities which provide the student with a roadmap of the courses and grades needed to go from community college to university. By fulfilling the grade requirements and other requirements as outlined by the agreement, the student enrollment process into the university of choice is ensured to be successful. Most statewide articulation agreements are generally focussed on community college to four-year public universities within the state.
•Community colleges are often more welcoming to international students. According to statistics from AACC about one-fifth of all international undergraduate students in the US study at Community College. That is almost 100 000 international students. Half of these students choose a college in one of these five states: California, Texas, Florida, Washington state, or New York state. Many of them provide ESL courses and other services to help international students adapt to a new language and culture.
•The process of admission to community colleges is much easier and hassle-free. No essays and, for some community colleges, no need for an SAT or ACT or other scores. The application process is comparatively much easier. Moreover, the admission rates are usually close to 100%; a wonderful confidence builder for students who did not get into the Harvards, Stanfords, or Dukes of the world.
•The environment at community colleges is of nurture and growth of each individual. Their system isn’t designed to “weed out” the non-competitive ones. This is very unlike the cut-throat competition culture at universities where the self-worth of a student is subjected to a lot of od environmental factors.
It’s all about the personalized attention
Smaller class sizes provided at many community colleges offer students more personal attention and 1-on-1 time with faculty. This can be a boon for students who like the self-paced learning style and can interact and seek guidance as they go along.