How to Select a Community College

College Degree Finder

Step 1: Consider Your Professional
Pathway

If you’re considering earning a degree or
certificate at a community college, you
should first have in mind what it is that
you want to achieve through your
education.

If you intend earning a bachelor’s
degree
, but are unsure of what to
study, you can take general education
courses at a community college for a
fraction of the cost of attending a
four-year college or university. You will
save money and determine your major before
enrolling at a university – which is much
more expensive. However, some community
colleges don’t provide degrees (“transfer
degrees”) that are transferable to a
four-year university. If you end game is
to earn a bachelor’s degree, then you’ll
want to make sure the community college
you attend is regionally accredited and
credits are fully transferable. You may
also want to find out if the community
college has any “articulation agreements”
in place with four-year universities in
the region. Articulation agreements ensure
that a community college’s students will
be admitted to a college or university
upon successfully completing their associate’s
degree
.

Many community colleges specialize in
technical training and vocational
education. If you goal is to enter the
workforce as soon as possible, you’ll want
to find a community college or technical
college that specializes in helping
students prepare for their career.

If you’re just not sure what career you
want to pursue, you may considered a
community college that offers a descent
selection of programs that provides both
career training and preparation for a
bachelor’s degree program.

Step 2: Investigate the Industry

If you already know which career you want
to pursue, schedule a time to meet with
someone working in your desired
profession. If your dream is to be a civil
engineer, contact a civil engineering
who’s been in the industry a while to talk
to him/her about possible education paths.

There’s no one better than an industry
professional to let you know what your
best education and career training options
are. He/she may even direct you to a
specific community college or school that
offers the type of training or degree
required.

Step 3: Audit Several Classes

Many community colleges will permit
potential students to spend time sitting
in classes before they make a decision
about whether to attend the school or not.
By using this strategy, you will have a
chance to review facilities and get to
know potential professors/instructors
before you commit.

High school students may enroll in evening
or summer classes to determine whether the
community college will be a good fit for
them. Most community colleges will allow
high school student to attend classes at
no charge in order to get a better feel
for the institution.

Step 4: Meet with an Academic Adviser

If you have any questions, do not hesitate
to schedule an appointment with an
academic adviser. An adviser can answer
your questions and alleviate any concerns
you have about attending a specific
school.

If you’re still in high school you’ll want
first meet with your high school
counselor. They’ll have a good idea of
which community colleges are going to be a
good fit for you and can point you in the
right direction.

Step 5: Master the Tricks of
Transferring

Keep your options open when enrolling in a
community college by choosing one where
your credits earned can be transferred to
a college or university. Many community
colleges have agreements with colleges and
universities where students can complete
their general education courses at a
community college before enrolling at a 4
year institution to pursue a major.

Community colleges are an excellent option
for many students since they are
affordable and more are now offering a
larger selection of classes that will
count towards a bachelor’s degree at a
four-year university.

Step 6: Review Graduation Rates

A good community college will have a good
graduation rate. If a community college’s
graduation rate is low, it could mean one
of two things. First, the college will
admit anyone – even if they aren’t really
committed to a higher education. Second,
there is something wrong with the
college’s programs that is causing
students to leave or give up. Either way,
it is not good. A good community college
will have a good student graduation rate.

Step 7: Review the College’s Placement
Rate

At the end of the day, a good education
should translate into a good job. When
investigating potential community colleges
make sure to find out what each colleges’
job placement rate is for recent
graduates. Most will be able to tell you
what percentage of their graduates have
found full-time employment within 12
months of graduating. If a college can’t
or won’t provide you that information,
scratch them off your list of potential
community colleges to attend.

Step 8: Look at a College Teacher
Turnover Rate

A good school not only attracts good
students, it attracts good faculty,
instructors, and professors. A good school
also has the ability to retain both it
students and its instructors. There are
various websites where you search
information on teacher turnover rates and
you can request this information from each
individual college as well. If a college
has a relatively high rate of turnover
among its faculty, it is a good sign that
they’re doing some very wrong.
Additionally, community colleges that are
constantly replacing faculty or having to
find new instructors to replace
instructors who have quite are not going
to have cohesive and well-run academic
programs.