A number of community colleges have articulation and dual admission transfer agreements with four-year institutions. Articulation agreements allow specific course work and credits that you earn at a community college to transfer seamlessly into specific programs at select four-year colleges and universities. Dual admission guarantees your admittance into pre-determined four-year colleges and universities while you are earning an associate degree at a community college (provided you meet the specific requirements and actually receive the credential).
Furthermore, some community colleges have specialized agreements with select four-year institutions that offer you the chance to pursue a bachelor’s degree while at the two-year college. Such an arrangement allows you to not have to relocate or travel to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Many community colleges and four-year institutions work closely with one another to ensure that students can take advantage of articulation, dual admission, and bachelor’s degree granting programs. However, it is ultimately up to you to be aware of the specific guidelines and requirements of each.
You may be a student who has family, work, or other obligations that prevent you from leaving home to attend a four-year college or university. Community colleges offer flexible schedules, allowing you to enroll as a full-time or part-time student and attend classes during times that work best for you.
Perhaps you are a high school student who feels you should go to college, but you are ambivalent about it. If you’re unsure about committing to four years of higher education, community college is a great place to start. You can take some college-level classes while figuring out what you want to do.
IMPROVE ACADEMIC STANDING
High school graduates who may have struggled in school or who are looking to improve their academic skills could benefit from attending community college. If you feel underprepared for college-level work, the time spent at a two-year institution could help you advance academically. Focusing on your academics will help you begin to meet and complete your course work and improve your grades and GPA. This could give you the confidence you need to obtain an associate degree and possibly transfer to a four-year college or university.
Even if you are not looking to transfer, you will have proven to yourself that you can handle college-level work. You may even decide to take additional courses to explore and prepare for a new career or acquire a specific skill needed to enter a technical or STEM profession. Whatever you decide, you will know that you will be successful.
BONUS BENEFIT — OPEN ADMISSION
Most community colleges offer open admission or open enrollment. This means that admission to the school is nonselective and that you can be accepted as long as you have a high school diploma or GED.
What is the benefit? Regardless of your SAT or ACT scores, your grades, or how well you performed in high school, you will have access to college and the opportunity to pursue postsecondary education. Keep in mind, however, that even though you are granted admission to a community college, you may be required to take placement tests in the subject areas of math, reading, and writing.
Cost, flexibility, and access are all benefits associated with attending a community college. You can attend small classes, improve your academic standing, and transfer to a four-year institution within two years if you meet the specified requirements–and take out few if any loans.
Community college may just be the right fit for you.
Chelsea L. Dixon, M.S., M.A.T. is founder and CEO of GamePhox Unlimited L.L.C. A motivational speaker who has lectured at various high schools, colleges, professional youth sport foundations, and youth groups, Dixon is the author of the book, Bridging the Gap: A Simple Guide to College. She earned a B.A. in sociology from Boston College, an M.A.T. in secondary education from Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) and an M.S. in sport management from the University of Massachusetts — Amherst. The proud New Jersey native is a member of the Ewing High School Athletic Hall of Fame and The Trenton Softball Hall of Fame. You can learn more about her at www.gamephox.com or www.bridgingthecollegegap.com.