Community college offers an alternative track to earning a bachelor’s degree. A new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found impressive undergraduate graduation rates for students who elected to begin their studies in community college. A summary of findings can be found on NACAC’s official blog, admitted.
Given these finding and the effort many colleges have put into their transfer student programs, this is an option worth considering. So, if you are applying to college this year, you may want to add a community college to your “list”. Think they are not for you? Read on…. We think Laura Bruno’s thoughts on the value of community college are relevant and timely as students consider their college options.
Laura Bruno is Associate Dean of Enrollment Management at Queensborough Community College, The City University of New York, where she is responsible for leading the College’s Enrollment Services division, including oversight and coordination of the Offices of Admissions & Recruitment, Academy Advisement, New Student Engagement, Testing and ASAP. Ms. Bruno holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University in psychology and a M.S.W. from Adelphi University. Ms. Bruno began her higher education career in admissions over 28 years ago, at the New School for Social Research where she served as Director of Admissions.
To be perfectly honest, I knew very little about community colleges before I started working in higher education. Like you, I assumed community colleges were just places for students who had underperformed in high school or for adults who wanted to pick up some new skills for the workplace and for retirees who wanted to take some classes in their spare time.
Soon after I began my career in Admissions, I realized just how inaccurate my views of community colleges were. Certainly, they do all of the above – including the crucial role they play in providing remediation and access opportunities to students who may yet be “college-ready” but that is just the beginning.
Would it surprise you to know that 45% of all first-time freshmen in the Fall 2012 term attended a community college and 40% of all community college students were 21 years of age or younger? (AACU, 2012) That means nearly half of all undergraduate students in the US attend a community college! For millions of these students, community colleges are vital pathways to more advanced education or enhanced employment. For those who wish to go on to earn their Bachelor’s, there are numerous articulation agreements and innovative partnerships that allow community college students access to top-ranked programs in nursing, technology, business and science programs as well as a seamless transfer and little or no loss of academic credit.
Today’s community college’s offer students many of the same amenities and perks associated with more traditional four-year or residential college including lush campuses, athletics facilities, research, internship opportunities and robust student life programming.
But perhaps the greatest measure of the power of community college is the success of its graduates. What do Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the former President of Walt Disney World Resorts Allen Weiss, George Lucas, Tom Hanks, Astronaut Eileen Collins, and NBC news anchor Brian Williams have in common? They are all community college graduates, of course!
Will you be next?