Community colleges provide affordable higher education to local communities by providing undergraduate students with courses. Many community colleges have liberal admission policies and offer instruction that ranges from academic classes that earn credits toward transfer to four-year schools to career preparation classes such as auto repair or retirement planning – typically at nominal or no fees and tuition charges.
Most community colleges offer programs for high school students that allow them to enroll in college-level courses while earning both high school and college credit simultaneously. These dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment programs give young people an idea of life as a college student before making the commitment of enrolling at one.
Some colleges also provide special adult-oriented programs, offering certification or skills relevant to local markets. Others offer continuing education classes to keep people current or prepare for professional advancement such as computer classes or nursing training. Many community colleges even partner with regional employers to offer training that meets the demands of the regional economy.
Community colleges typically feature smaller class sizes than four-year universities, meaning they are better able to give each student more individualized attention while still offering “the college experience,” including living on campus and taking part in student clubs and organizations on a more limited scale.
Parham says community colleges are also working hard to find ways to support students outside of academic pursuits, providing assistance such as housing assistance, transportation vouchers and nutrition assistance.
Parham notes that any student considering transitioning from community college to four-year university must consult both parties on how best to make this transition smooth and understand how best to manage it. Doing this will ensure they’re set up for success while understanding what will come next in their journey.
One of the primary considerations when making their choice of college is cost; however, other considerations must also be taken into account.
Community colleges tend to cost less than four-year schools for in-state residents, though this does not alleviate all financial strain. There are a variety of resources available to students in terms of scholarships, grants and federal loans as well as some states with laws making community college free for all residents – for more information about what options may be available to you use this handy tool from American Association of Community Colleges.