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Community and Technical Colleges

Making Your Own Map - Success at a 2-Year College

44% of America's undergraduate students go to community college
About 25% of current high-school seniors will attend community college next year
58% of community college students are women
29 is the average age of a community college student.
There are over 1,100 community colleges in the U.S.
-995 public
-137 independent
30% of community college students are minorities
Average tuition of a community college is $1,518 per year
The average expected lifetime earnings for a graduate with an associate's degree is about $250,000 more than an individual with only a high school diploma.
Over 80% of community college students work at least part-time
  Source: American Association of Community Colleges

C.C. Celebrities
Billy Crystal
Nassau C.C., NY
Clint Eastwood
Los Angeles C.C., CA
Tom Hanks
Chabot College, CA
Joan Lunden
American River College, CA
Natalie Merchant
Jamestown C.C., NY
H. Ross Perot
Texarkana J.C., TX
Jackie Robinson
Pasadena C.C., CA
Source: American Association of Community Colleges

Is sometimes assumed that attending a community or technical colleges is 'easier' than attending a 4-year college or university. Not only is this false, the reverse is often true. Community and technical colleges can be more challanging than their 4-year counterparts.

The classroom experience at both 2 and 4-year colleges is of equal difficulty for equal courses. English 101 at a large university should not differ in any significant way from English 101 at a community college. Of course, every college has different levels of teaching expertice and the quality of the faculty can vary. One of the biggest differences between 2 and 4-year colleges is what happens outside the classroom.

The average age at many 2-year colleges is over 30. Community and technical colleges are convenient to adults, returning to higher education. Un-like many 18-24 year old students, adults have little interest is the many activities and support services provided by colleges outside of the classroom. At many 2-year schools, these activities or services are entirely optional. For young adults these services may provide essential counseling, advising or tutoring support but it is up to the individual to seek out these support areas. The challenge is in deciding which services or activities are appropriate (see accompanying article).

At 4-year colleges, students are counseled more closely on their extra-cirricular choices. Often, a student's academic progress is also monitored to be sure that the college is aware of potential problems. This seldom happens at 2-year colleges. Here, it is necessary for each student to consider their own progress and decide if additional campus resources are needed. Don't expect to be coached through admission, financial aid or registration. The student at a community or technical college who waits for someone to guide them through campus life will not be rewarded.

Taking Advantage of Resources

Community and technical colleges have many resources to offer students. Below are some tips to take advantage of the services and activities provided.

  • Attend new student orientation - while this may not be required, it is an excellent way to be exposed to the wide variety of support services available on campus, don't miss it!
  • Visit the student counseling and activities offices as soon as possible to become familiarized with these important areas. You may be surprised at all these campus centers have to offer.
  • Don't wait for help to find you, it won't. Seek out the assistance you need, when YOU need it
  • Identify a friend on campus from the faculty or staff who can steer you in the right direction when necessary.


Article supplied by College Planning Network.

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