Why choosing a community college makes sense | TheUnion.com

Why choosing a community college makes sense

“Keep calm and transfer” was the slogan for the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors conference that I attended recently in Costa Mesa.

This conference brought together high school counselors, independent counselors and college representatives from across the U.S.

Why keep calm and transfer? This refers to the path chosen by many high school students to start out at a community college and transfer to a four-year college after two years. These students also skip the competitiveness and stress of college applications.

Let’s talk about what we already know about community colleges. They are inexpensive, do not require SAT/ACT tests, and students 18 years or older can attend regardless of high school graduation status.

Relatively new is the mandate that community colleges must offer services including assessment, counseling, and student education planning.

Educational planning focuses on transfer options to the four-year colleges and career and technical education. In fact Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California for transfers to the CSU/UC systems. Nearly 30 percent of UC undergraduates are transfer students. Studies prove that they do just as well academically as students who enter as freshmen.

Seven UC campuses (UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz.) offer guaranteed admission through the TAG program.

By participating in a Transfer Admission Guarantee program, students receive early review of their academic records and early admission notification.

Students (and parents) are relieved to know there is a guarantee of admission as long as students follow a set pattern of courses with an established GPA.

Not wanting to be in debt is a major factor in choosing a community college.

According to http://finaid.org, students attending a four-year college graduate with an average debt of $22,000.

When you consider that the first two years of college classes are general education requirements, completing these at a community college at a fraction of the cost makes sense. A student who graduates without debt may have more options and career choices.

And if you are a student who works, most community colleges are increasing their online offerings, making it easier for those with irregular schedules.

Other reasons to consider a community college- it is an easy transition from high school and may be right for students who have a hard time adjusting to the social demands of college life and being away from home. Class sizes are generally smaller and there is a good chance you will have a personal relationship with your instructors.

You may also be able to get into your dream school by attending a community college first.

Transfer students are admitted based on their college GPA and not their high school GPA. So if you slacked off in high school, you can redeem yourself and still get into that great college through the transfer process.

Stay calm and transfer. Sounds like a great idea for many students.

Jill Haley is a retired high school counselor who worked for the Nevada Joint Union High School District for 20 years. She currently operates a college admissions consulting business and can be reached at jillncca@yahoo.com. or at http://getyouintocollege.com.

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