Community colleges offer programs that can transfer to universities, technical education programs, job skill upgrades and programs that serve a particular local demand. Many students utilize a community college as their post-high school education plan, and most recently, the number of students attending has increased. Many community colleges and universities (such as Pima with UA, NAU, and ASU) are working together to create transitional programs that allow you to directly transfer to the University without losing credits.
Find out more about the University of Arizona's Transfer Student Center - just one example of how universities work together with community colleges.
What type of student goes to community college?
- Current high school students taking classes towards high school graduation
- Current high school students participating in a planned program designed to attain an associate's degree as early as possible
- Recent high school graduates looking for academic tracks to transfer to a university at some point
- Recent high school graduates looking at a vocational program for training so they can get into the workforce
- Students who attended (or attend) a university and need a class offered at the community college that they cannot get in a reasonable timeline at the university
- Non-traditional students who are back in school for re-training after job loss or job change
- Students seeking courses for personal interest
Community College Myths:
- It is difficult to transfer from a community college to a four-year university.
- Many transfer agreements are in place between community colleges and universities that tell students exactly what it takes for students to transfer from community college to a university. In fact, studies have shown that students who complete the curriculum for an associate’s degree do as well, if not better, than students who start at a 4 year university. Pima and the UofA, have such an agreement.
- Community college is for older students and students who work full time.
- Research from Pew Research Center, shows that students from the age of 18-24 are one of the larger groups that attend community college.
- I should only attend a community college if I want a vocational career.
- Community colleges do give students a vocational education, but they also provide a transfer opportunity to a university to obtain a Bachelors degree or higher.
Factors in choosing a community college:
- Finances: Community colleges offer the first 60 credits of a 120 credit degree at the fraction of the cost that a university would.
- Location: You are able to stay near home which allows you to attend to family obligations, job responsibilities, have transportation and for financial reasons.
- Programs: Community colleges provide a wide variety of programs. These programs can transfer to universities and technical education programs, and they help individuals upgrade their job skills.
- Environment: Class size is usually smaller allowing students with more teacher contact. They offer the opportunity for students that need remediation, to do so, allowing students to be ready for university level work.
Reference: Boggie,M. (2010). If the college fits, recommend it. ASCA School Counselor, 48(2), 64.