Community College Students Sometimes Take too Many Credits—and then Don't Graduate - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

At last year’s HBCU Summit, Danette Howard, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Lumina Foundation, spoke about the problem of colleges requiring too many credits for students to graduate.

Apparently the too-many-credits scenario is a problem at community colleges as well.

According to Education Dive, Campus Technology has reported that roughly 60% of community college students are able to transfer most of their credits to a four-year school; 15% can transfer only a few.

That’s based on a working paper of the Community College Research Center, which reveals that the poor credit transfer rate makes it difficult for students to graduate. Those who do graduate end up taking longer for a degree that costs more.

Advisors–with the Right Advice–Can Make a Difference

There is so much research on best practices for college students that points to the efficacy of the right advice early on, and this report is no different.

Unfortunately, some students are getting the wrong advice. Counseled to take general education classes “to get them out of the way” turns out to hobble students who want to transfer and graduate with a four-year degree.

Such students, Education Dive says, “often needed to take 100- and 200-level courses before they could sign up for the 300-level coursework that would allow them to graduate.” These students would transfer to four-year schools and still take 100-level courses, delaying their path to graduation.

What Works Best?

Community college students who plan to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree fare best at schools that have articulated agreements or aligned programs with four-year colleges. Other steps these students can take to ensure a straight path to graduation:

  • Community college advisers should encourage students to choose their majors early, rather than focus on general ed courses.
  • Choose a four-year college with which the community college has an articulation agreement or otherwise aligned programs.
  • Ask about needing to take 100-level courses at a four-year school. If such low-level courses are required after community college, that may not be the school for you.

Read more at Education Dive.

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