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How Does Community College Work

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Erica Miller Modern Manufacturing

How Does College Work

Columbus States Modern Manufacturing Work-Study program helped Miller learn on the job

Erica Millers first foray into engineering and robotics was in middle school, when she participated in the First Lego League. As a kid I was always fascinated with figuring out how things worked. I really liked thinking through problems and evaluating solutions, she says. Today, shes channeling that passion for problem-solving into her job as a technician with Stanley Electric US, Inc.

Miller gained the knowledge and skills she needed through Columbus States Modern Manufacturing Work-Study program, which gives students an opportunity to work with a local company while theyre still in school. For Miller, that meant servicing and maintaining robots and equipment at Honda. Its great how what you learn at school and what you learn on the job build on each other, she says. They ask me to do things at work for the first time and Im like Hey, I know how to do this! The classes and lab work really teach you the basics so you can jump in when you get a job.

What Is A Community College Exactly

A community college offers postsecondary education at an affordable rate. Once known as junior colleges, these institutions operate predominantly as two-year schools. Community colleges prepare graduates for the workforce.

Depending on their major, graduates can also transfer from a community college to a four-year school to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Across the U.S., 1,044 community colleges serve nearly 12 million students. Around two-thirds of students earning credits at a community college enroll on a part-time basis, and nearly half of community college students are older than 22. Additionally, most community college students work while pursuing higher education.

Community colleges primarily award two-year associate degrees. Many also offer academic and vocational certificates, technical diplomas, GED classes, and continuing education classes. Some even offer four-year degrees, though this is less common.

Pros Of Transfering To A Four

People often wonder, Is a four-year university worth it? This question is especially important today with people carrying high amounts of student debt late into their 20s or 30s. Whether or not this type of school is worth the cost stems from what you get out of it. If you cannot decide between a university and community college, the pros and cons of a university will likely impact your decision.

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What Is Community College

The United States offers many types of postsecondary education. One type of note, once unique to the United States but becoming known and established in other countries, is the community college. Community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, are two-year schools that provide affordable postsecondary education as a pathway to a four-year degree.

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, 1,167 community colleges in the United States enroll more than 12.4 million students and serve almost half of all undergraduate students in the United States. Many of these community colleges are Student and Exchange Visitor Program -certified,and all have nationally-recognized accreditation. These community colleges offer a wide variety of options to postsecondary students:

  • Open access to postsecondary education
  • Preparation for transfer to four-year college or university
  • Workforce development and skills training
  • A range of noncredit programs, such as English as a second language, skills retraining, community enrichment programs and cultural activities

Community colleges offer a distinct learning environment, and are recognized for smaller class sizes, more individualized attention and a supportive atmosphere. Community colleges also offer the following:


Difference #: Cost Of Tuition

Jackson State Community College

In general, community college education is deemed to be more affordable. The average tuition is half that of a public university partly because community colleges avoid costs like big campus infrastructure and extracurricular programs. Books and food still cost the same, but many US community college students save money by living at home.

Obviously for international students who are coming to the US independently and without family to stay with, the large cost offset by living at home would unfortunately not apply. It is worth also bearing in mind that whilst overall tuition fees are lower, it can take longer to complete an associates degree at a community college. While the average length of this type of degree is two years, at a community college, it can often take longer. In addition, since on-campus residence is not generally available at a community college, international students will often have to find their own housing and sign typically at least a year lease with a significant deposit since they dont have credit history in the US.

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Students Behave Differently When They Know College Is Free

Taking into account that actual tuition and fees are already essentially free, could there still be significant effects when students know for certain that their schooling will cost nothing? Yes.

That was the finding of Susan Dynarksi, Katherine Michelmore, Stephanie Owen and C.J. Libassi, of the College Board, in their free college experiment at the University of Michigan.

In the Michigan experiment, researchers contacted low-income, high-achieving students who were likely admissible to University of Michigan to let them know they had four years of guaranteed free tuition and fees. This is aid that the students likely would have received anyway had they taken the usual steps to apply to the University of Michigan and apply for financial aid. But the simplicity of the process and the guarantee increased the number of students who enrolled at the University of Michigan by 15 percentage points. The rate at which students did not enroll in any college fell by four percentage points.

Some Universities Require On

A contributor to the high costs of many universities is the requirement for non-local freshmen to live in campus housing. Some schools may require students to live on campus after their first year, too. While you will learn many things about becoming an independent adult living in dorms, you will also have to pay the cost of thousands of dollars in living expenses. For those who live on campus, universities may also require the students to purchase a minimum meal plan.

If you dont want to live in a dorm, you may need to live in the same town as the university. Otherwise, you may not have an option to avoid living on campus at some four-year colleges.

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Online Degrees On Coursera

If youâre interested in earning your bachelorâs degree and would like affordable and flexible options, an online degree may be a strong alternative to attending community college or an on-campus program at a four-year institution. Unlike community colleges, which may require you to take a portion of your classes in-person, you can complete an online degree wherever thereâs internet access. Explore bachelor’s degrees in practical and in-demand areas such as , computer science, and business administration from top universities on Coursera.

What Is A Community College

Northeast Community College – WORK

Historically, community colleges were known as junior colleges, but the term junior college has fallen from popularity. Community colleges have, and still to this day, play an important role in preparing students for the workforce. There are over a thousand community colleges in the United States and most offer a variety of degrees or certificates that prepare both domestic and international students immediately for their first entry-level job. Community colleges also serve as an access point into a traditional university for students who plan on continuing their education.

So, whats the difference between a community college and a four-year university? A community college is exactly as the name implies: It is a higher education institution that primarily serves its surrounding community. Community colleges offer traditional academic classes like math and history that will transfer to a four-year college or university but also offers community programs like resume help to job seekers, or swim classes to children. As community colleges grow in popularity they are serving more individuals both locally and from around the world.

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Section : The Motivational Barrier

Community college environments fundamentally shape students experiences, as the previous section illustrated. In cafeteria-style environments, it can be very difficult for students to identify connections between their coursework and their own lives and future goals. This disconnect is what I refer to as a motivational barrier. Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the structural problems in cafeteria-style colleges contribute to this barrier. For this reason, while this section primarily focuses on the motivational barrier, it also builds on the prior discussion of structural challenges and acknowledges the relationship between structural and motivational barriers.

More People Go To College When Community College Is Free

Researchers have studied the impacts of announcing that college will be free in Oregon , Tennessee and Massachusetts .

The potential good news is that more students were drawn into college by the policy. In Tennessee, an additional 2.5 percentage points of each high school graduating year decided to enroll in community college. Yet another 2.5% of the cohort were drawn from four-year institutions into community colleges. This could be seen as a problem because researchers find the likelihood of earning a bachelors degree or higher earnings is increased by starting out at more selective institutions with higher graduation rates than community colleges.

The point of my research was to see what would happen if there was a national free community college policy.

My research team found that free community college does boost the overall rate of obtaining an associate degree from 5.8 to 7.0 percentage points of students that could enroll. But, just as it occurred in Tennessee, bachelors degree completion falls by 1 percentage point as students are shifted away from four-year colleges. Low-income students that is, those with family incomes of less than $40,000 per year are impacted the least since the true price of attending community college does not change much for these students.

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The Key Is Transferring From Community College

While many community colleges in the US have fantastic career opportunities, the majority of community colleges work as stepping stones for students transferring to 4-year-colleges and universities. If you’re ready to keep up with your classes, without online homework help and ace your exams, you’ll be able to take advantage of everything community colleges does have to offer you. Who knows, you might end up transferring to Harvard or Yale!

This post is partly contributed by, a website offering resources related to, but not limited to, homework help, tips and insights.

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

Community College Vs University: What’s The Difference

All College Work Day in the Community
  • Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., English, University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Materials Science & Engineering and Literature, MIT

Community colleges and universities each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and they have significant differences when it comes to admissions, academics, costs, and student life.

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Information Technology Support Technician

Learn to troubleshoot hardware and software

Every business in every field needs qualified IT professionals who can analyze and develop strategies to debug networks and network devices. Graduates from the IT Tech Support Technician program have the tech skills to support both proprietary and Open Source systems, combined with the soft skills to communicate well, making them invaluable in todays tech-focused workforce.

Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning And Refrigeration

Employers demand skills beyond the basics.

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems that control the temperature and air quality in buildings. Candidates familiar with computers and electronics and those with good troubleshooting skills important skillsets emphasized in Columbus States HVAC program will have the best job opportunities as employers continue to have difficulty finding qualified technicians to install, maintain, and repair complex new systems.

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Autumn Spitler Autumns Sweet Shoppe

Autumn Spitlers recipe for success includes a big heaping of hard work and a pinch of Columbus State.

Spitler graduated with an associate degree in Baking & Pastry Arts, with a Foundations of Business Certificate, in winter 2018. Today, shes running Autumns Sweet Shoppe, a small-batch bakery specializing in tantalizing treats.

She credits her time at Columbus State for not only building her baking skills, but also her leadership. While on campus, she was a diversity peer educator, social media ambassador, and received an Outstanding Woman Leader of the Year award. The opportunities provided to me as a student were amazing and far beyond what I expected from a community college, Spitler says.

Policy Recommendation : Evaluate Innovative Efforts And Disseminate Information Widely

Howard Community College Learning Works Cyber

In addition to knowing how well a program works, college leaders, employer partners, and policymakers need answers to practical questions about how to implementeffective programs. Embedding the following types of questions into evaluations of guided pathways reforms would provide valuable insight into how to implement these changes:

  • What motivated college leaders to implement these changes?
  • How did college leaders convince stakeholders to invest in a guided pathways approach?
  • How were programs tailored to local contexts without sacrificing the key components?
  • What resources were necessary to design and implement these changes?

Furthermore, employers that partner with colleges to provide training and education programs related to career pathways may be interested in drawing on the guided pathways approach in their work with community colleges. Questions that may serve as a starting point for exploring these possibilities include:

  • What challenges do existing programs face in terms of retention and completion?
  • How can employers and colleges incorporate a guided pathways approach in their career pathways programs to address these issues? What adjustments to existing programs are necessary?
  • What steps can the college and employers take to jointly navigate these changes productively?

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Attend Mount Wachusett Community College

For a community college that genuinely cares about you and your education, choose Mount Wachusett Community College. At The Mount, as our students and faculty affectionately call us, youll get a high-quality education at an affordable cost, with professors and administrative staff who want to see you succeed.

We have over 70 degree and certificate options, in addition to various focused career training programs. We also offer fully online degree and certificate programs for education with maximum flexibility.

Contact us for more information about our degree and certificate programs, or go straight to our free application. We hope to see you at The Mount soon!

How To Transfer From Community College To University: 3 Step Process

There are a few steps youll need to take if you want to transfer from community college to a university, especially if youre planning on transferring credits from community college to university. Were going to go over the three step process below.

But one quick caveat before we start: the transfer process at each university is different. So while youll follow these general steps, youll need to do your research to make sure you meet the transfer requirements at your school.

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Community College Costs And Financial Aid

In 202122, the average published tuition and fees for a full-time student at public two-year institutions nationally were $3,800, compared with $10,740 at public four-year colleges. After grant aid, students had an average of $660 left for other expenses, well short of the cost of attendance.

According to a CCRC analysis of federal data from 2018, after accounting for grants, 41% of full-time public two-year college students pay no tuition or receive money to cover other expenses. About 12% pay something but less than $1,000 and 21% pay between $1,000 and $2,500. About 26% pay $2,500 or more after accounting for grants.

Public two-year colleges had the lowest FAFSA application rate of any sector at 59%, according to a CCRC analysis of federal data from 2018. Public four-year institutions had the next lowest FAFSA application rate at 68%.

The percentage of public two-year college students who receive Pell Grants grew from 33.5% in 201516 to 42% in 201718, pushing the rate above that of public and private four-year colleges.

About 23% of dependent community college students and 47% of independent community college students have family incomes of less than $20,000 . Two-thirds of public two-year college students work, with 32% working full-time. Yet only 2% of public two-year college students receive any work study aid, compared with 20% of undergraduates at private nonprofit four-year colleges.

Q Anything Else You Might Like To Add About Accreditation

Internship Challenge providing professional experience opportunities ...

Accreditation can be an important form of assessment as a student chooses a particular program or university/college. The key is regional accreditation, especially as it relates to Title IV federal funding . Regional accreditation is also the âcommon denominatorâ among varied universities â a real âapple to appleâ comparison. Specialized or programmatic accreditations should be taken with a grain of salt. There are several great degree programs that may not have specialized accreditation for any variety of reasons â so donât dismiss a school that may lack that accreditation in your field of interest . As with many other factors, accreditation is one of many tools a student can use to help them make the right choice when it comes to college.

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Working Together To Close The Skills Gap

Close partnerships with area businesses means increased opportunity for our graduates

The demand for IT professionals is huge and two-year degrees are critical to fill the skills gap between the numbers of open jobs and individuals able to fill them. Columbus State students are learn marketable skills that employers are looking, Manifest Solution counts on Columbus State grads to fill their IT positions.

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