Why community colleges?
What's the best path for your child?
Community colleges were developed, and still exist, for two major purposes. The first is to serve as a bridge from high school to college by providing courses for transfer toward a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.). Four out of 10 college-bound high-school graduates start their college education this way.
The second function of community colleges is to prepare students for the job market by offering entry-level career training, as well as courses for adult students who want to upgrade their skills for workforce re-entry or advancement.
Why attend a community college?
1. Your family is tight on funds.
Community colleges cost significantly less (particularly for state residents) than state or private colleges and universities. This means that they can be a cost-effective way for your child to complete the first two years of college. The money saved by living at home and going to a local community college can help pay for the last two years at a four-year college or university.
2. Your child isn't sure about going to college.
Maybe your child would like to begin by aiming for a two-year associate's degree and decide later whether he'd like to pursue a bachelor's degree. Taking classes toward an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree, for example, would give him a feel for the type of education he would get at a liberal arts college.
3. Your child isn't sure what kind of program she wants to pursue.
Many people enter college without a clear idea of what they want to focus on. At a community college, your child can explore different subject areas before committing to a program, without having to be so concerned about his finances. To assist with the career decision-making process, many community colleges offer intensive guidance counseling that can help your child assess his abilities, interests, and educational options. Plus, your child may actually be able to take a wider array of courses (including both liberal arts and career-oriented) than at a four-year institution, making it easier to check out many different options in one place.
4. Your child has been out of school or his GPA isn't so great, and he wants to build his skills before transferring to a four-year college or university.
Whereas many four-year colleges and universities have selection criteria for attendance, such as a minimum required GPA, community colleges are open to everyone. If your child wants to pursue college-level coursework but isn't academically ready, community colleges offer classes and one-on-one tutoring to help students strengthen their basic skills. Keep in mind that the average class size at most community colleges is significantly smaller than at public four-year universities.