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Nan
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05 Jan 2010, 1:00 am

I've been to a few community colleges over the years, and have to second the poster who said "it depends". A few had excellent standards, one was just pathetically bad, and one was pretty much a trade school. Their usefulness depends on why you're there. I took a number of courses at community colleges that were, by far, better than I had at the local 4 year school I later attended (where I was "taught" by graduate students who'd never been in front of a classroom).

CC's (used to be called "Junior College" years ago) only offer - on the academic side - the first two years (freshman/sophomore) level courses. You cannot get "upper-division" credit at any university of which I am aware for courses taken at a community college. On the plus - there are some instructors at CC's that are really into teaching and they do it well. This may definitely NOT be the case at a 4 year school, where they're dealing with publish or perish. Also, at some four year schools you're not going to see the line faculty until you hit upper division or graduate school. You'll possibly be dealing with canned lectures taught by graduate students or imported temporary lecturers. Then again, at some CC's you get faculty who are not quite up to par enough to get a post at a 4 year school and so cobble together an income teaching a course at one school, a course at another, etc. It really does "depend".

Given that the material in the first two years of a BA/BS degree is pretty basic, and given that CC's tend to be tremendously less expensive than 4 year schools, I'd say to definitely give them a look before you commit to a 4 year school if you have any question at all. (Some 4 year schools do not accept transfer students, so figure that into the mix as well.)

I sent my daughter to CC rather than off to a 4 year school because she was, emotionally, not ready to go away from home and deal with a completely new and bewildering environment at that time. Intellectually she could probably have taught some of the classes, but she could not have survived at a factory school (as some 4 years are) - she just didn't deal with change well. So she took some classes in subjects she liked while doing a job on campus that they provided for her, and eased herself into it all. She came out the other end with a 2 year language degree and a work resume. (Her major complaint while there was that she had a hard time fitting in, as the people in her classes were "old" - returning students - or "dumb".)

She's earning more, now, temping in offices (based on the office skills she learned as a byproduct of her work-study positions) than I did in my first several years after graduating from my master's program, and has no student loan debt. I've been working for almost 20 years now, after finishing my degrees. My kid, with her AA degree and 75WPM typing, and one year's experience in the workforce, brings home about 75% of what I currently earn. And I earn more than an assistant professor.

It's not only the school, it's the field of study. Research well, and good luck.



Nan
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05 Jan 2010, 3:24 pm

ilivinamushroom wrote:
I am starting community college tomorrow morning thank you very much , will report back on how that goes.


So, how did it go???



ruennsheng
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05 Jan 2010, 11:28 pm

So I can safely say, community colleges are good because

(1) They are smaller, and more manageable socially;

(2) They offer time to transition to college-level work;

(3) They save money, as compared to a 4-year college;

(4) They bring out more space for exploration in academic/career options;

(5) They seem to provide specific industry-linked short-term training for employment.

But on the other hand, community colleges may not be good because

(1) The quality of teaching is inconsistent;

(2) The concentrations/majors offered may not be broad enough to cater to the needs of some Aspies;

(3) They do not offer dorms and may not have other platforms for social networking like sports and arts... (which Aspies may need. But some Aspies like me are not so social anyway);

The alternative options for (2) and (3) for some able people could be state universities (not private universities, unless scholarships are given). Meanwhile, (1) seems to be hard to overcome because even this seems to be a problem in many top universities like Harvard or NYU.


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Metal_Man
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06 Jan 2010, 12:18 am

Some community colleges do have dorms, sports and various forms of the arts.


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ruennsheng
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06 Jan 2010, 3:15 am

This makes community colleges even sweeter.

In fact, I wonder why don't more people attend them?


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06 Jan 2010, 4:01 am

With the economy in the toilet the good ones have long waiting lists to get into, especially for medical related fields. Medical type jobs are the only thing left in Michigan. I've gone back to school and I can't start taking the degree (medical technician) program classes until this fall (Sept. 2010) and I applied back in April of 2009. Currently I am taking foreign languages and some prerequisite classes. The only reason I can do that is because I have taken many classes there in the past for a previous job. I also have 2 Bachelors and an Associates degree so that moves me to the front of the line. I took all of the basic, English, math, etc 25 years ago.


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ruennsheng
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06 Jan 2010, 4:13 am

I didn't know 'second chance schools' have waiting lists... Oh I see. :)

On a side note, I hope MI can transform itself into a healthcare powerhouse.


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Metal_Man
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06 Jan 2010, 4:37 am

I doubt it. Once all of the autoworker retirees die off there will be very few people left. The state is rapidly depopulating.


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ruennsheng
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06 Jan 2010, 10:47 pm

Nevertheless, I am now seriously considering Broward Community College for further studies. I need to see the results of my final examinations though. Thanks.

NB: BCC has a branch in Singapore.


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17 Jan 2010, 1:06 pm

ruennsheng wrote:
For those without much social skills to exploit the social circles in a 4-year college... do you think CC will work better for them?



absolutely not. I went to CC and I hated the social scene. Nobody wanted to be friends enough to hang out outside of school. I think I would have had a much easier time at a big university, where students live in the dorms and you get to meet all sorts of people.



MsTriste
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17 Jan 2010, 3:20 pm

^^^ I went to a big university in my early 20's and HATED it. So impersonal. There was no way to make friends. It was incredibly competitive. The professors were horrid. Classes were held in auditoriums, which were a nightmare acoustically/sensory-wise. I could go on and on...



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18 Jan 2010, 1:32 am

riverspark wrote:
I had a great time at CC. It's a great way to get a fresh start in life. I had the opposite experience that some previous posters have had; the university I transferred to seems to have a lot more of the high-school attitudes, while the CC had a more adult atmosphere.

I made a ton of friends, raised my confidence level, discovered people who believed in me, and learned an amazing amount of stuff both in and out of the classroom. I just wish I could get that feeling back now that I have transferred to the university.

Anyhow, I highly recommend community colleges. Mine in particular had quite a few instructors who could have taught at a university but took the CC job by choice because they liked the atmosphere and because they felt they had more of a chance to make a difference in the lives of their students.

There is NO WAY I could have started my college career at a four-year school. I'd have dropped out for sure. CC's are much less overwhelming.

And on top of all that, I saved thousands of dollars in tuition!


I had a good experience, too. Agreed, that a lot of professors were more than capable of teaching at larger universities. In fact, many of my professors there taught part-time at my CC and at a larger universities in the area.

On top of the money, I think that you should go to a CC if you don't know what you want to study in school. When I went to a CC, I was kind of lost and had no idea what I wanted to do. Then I met some great professors who got me interested in literature and philosophy and now I am a student at a top 5 university for philosophy.

However, I thought that the students there were, for the most part, pretty dull, which kind of sucked; I wish I would have made some good friends there.



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18 Jan 2010, 1:53 am

Tractatus wrote:

I had a good experience, too. Agreed, that a lot of professors were more than capable of teaching at larger universities. In fact, many of my professors there taught part-time at my CC and at a larger universities in the area.

On top of the money, I think that you should go to a CC if you don't know what you want to study in school. When I went to a CC, I was kind of lost and had no idea what I wanted to do. Then I met some great professors who got me interested in literature and philosophy and now I am a student at a top 5 university for philosophy.

However, I thought that the students there were, for the most part, pretty dull, which kind of sucked; I wish I would have made some good friends there.


Just curious, are you studying in Michigan currently? Haha...

Don't worry, I do not blame my classmates as being dull or overtly social... I am more concerned about the academic experience, thank you.


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18 Jan 2010, 1:59 am

ruennsheng wrote:
Tractatus wrote:

I had a good experience, too. Agreed, that a lot of professors were more than capable of teaching at larger universities. In fact, many of my professors there taught part-time at my CC and at a larger universities in the area.

On top of the money, I think that you should go to a CC if you don't know what you want to study in school. When I went to a CC, I was kind of lost and had no idea what I wanted to do. Then I met some great professors who got me interested in literature and philosophy and now I am a student at a top 5 university for philosophy.

However, I thought that the students there were, for the most part, pretty dull, which kind of sucked; I wish I would have made some good friends there.


Just curious, are you studying in Michigan currently? Haha...

Don't worry, I do not blame my classmates as being dull or overtly social... I am more concerned about the academic experience, thank you.


No, not Michigan, which leaves 4, which makes it pretty obvious :D



ruennsheng
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18 Jan 2010, 2:08 am

Tractatus wrote:
ruennsheng wrote:
Tractatus wrote:

I had a good experience, too. Agreed, that a lot of professors were more than capable of teaching at larger universities. In fact, many of my professors there taught part-time at my CC and at a larger universities in the area.

On top of the money, I think that you should go to a CC if you don't know what you want to study in school. When I went to a CC, I was kind of lost and had no idea what I wanted to do. Then I met some great professors who got me interested in literature and philosophy and now I am a student at a top 5 university for philosophy.

However, I thought that the students there were, for the most part, pretty dull, which kind of sucked; I wish I would have made some good friends there.


Just curious, are you studying in Michigan currently? Haha...

Don't worry, I do not blame my classmates as being dull or overtly social... I am more concerned about the academic experience, thank you.


No, not Michigan, which leaves 4, which makes it pretty obvious :D


Let me guess again. I guess you're currently studying in the University of Pittsburgh. Cool!


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18 Jan 2010, 2:16 am

ruennsheng wrote:
For those without much social skills to exploit the social circles in a 4-year college... do you think CC will work better for them?

And for bad CCs, at least we are given a chance to prove ourselves in a low-cost environment, isn't it?


I actually think that CCs are worse for people with bad social skills. I say this because you have to commute to CCs, so it's much harder to make friends as most people just go to class and then leave to go home.

When you live on campus, you will be assigned a roommate and will meet people who live on your floor and in your dorm. I think that this makes it a lot easier to get to know people.

When I transfered to a university, I made friends with people on my floor. It took me a while, but they ended up becoming people that I became very close to.