Sunday, 9 June 2019

Benefit Community College Advantages

 While there are many distinct advantages that can be associated with attending a community college there are a few disadvantages that I would be remiss in not mentioning. We all like to look at the positive side of things and the good in my opinion of community colleges, at least as a springboard for university learning far outweigh the bad. However, if you are considering community college as an option whether for your associate’s degree alone or have plans to move along to the university level upon completion you should see the big picture and not just the sunshine and flowers.

The first thing you should be aware of, and this applies primarily to those students with plans to transfer, is that you should always consult the college you intend to attend next in order to make sure that the courses you are taking on the community college level are compatible with the core requirements for the university. In many cases they are similar enough to be considered compatible but there are exceptions and it is better to find this out sooner rather than later. If you plan to attend a University that is located near the community college you are attending you should check and see if they have some sort of articulation agreement that will allow associate’s degree graduates to transfer seamlessly.

Many states are stepping in and passing laws that require colleges in their specific states to accept community college credits as transfer credits in an effort to keep qualified workers in the state. Some universities are even offering distance learning programs to associates degree graduates in order to allow access to students who live a greater distance from campus to have access to educational opportunities that would have been denied to them in the past. Of course if you live in one of these states, a former disadvantage may now work in your favor.

Many community colleges do not offer housing opportunities and most of those that do are still largely commuter campuses rather than residence campuses. Rather than spending funds on housing these colleges tend to reserve their spending to assist in academic pursuits. Community colleges in rural areas are much more likely than those in larger cities to offer housing on campus. The lack of on-campus housing makes participation in sports and other activities a little more difficult than colleges that are largely residential in nature.

If you decide to make a community college your last stop when it comes to your personal educational experience you will be denying yourself a great deal of earning potential over the course of your lifetime. For this reason you should seriously consider the benefits that transferring to a university will present for your educational goals.

My largest complaint when it comes to community colleges when compared to larger universities was the fact that there are such limited opportunities to take specific classes than when compared to those classes on a university level. You will find that you must remain within your sequence of courses on the community college level or you risk needing an extra semester or year in order to complete the requirements for your associate’s degree. Universities tend to offer greater flexibility, especially in lower level courses that are required by all in order to graduate.

My other major complaint when it comes to community college is the fact that they often have much smaller libraries than universities. This seriously limits the ability that students have to do extensive research with the exception of rare cases. Universities simply have deeper pockets than the average community college. For this reason they will have bigger libraries and far more bells and whistles than the average community college. Hopefully we’ll see this change over time as well. Despite the disadvantages that can be associated with community college educations, I feel that they are very much outweighed by the benefits that the community college learning environment offers.
We live in the information age. We have grown so accustomed to information at the speed of light that the prospect of not having immediate access to countless numbers of facts and figures with the mere click of a few buttons for many of us is simply disconcerting. For this reason, it only makes sense that there are many people across the nation and around the world that are embracing the idea of online learning and educational opportunities with every ounce of enthusiasm they can muster.

At the same time there are equal numbers of people around the world who are trying desperately to hold on to traditional methods of dealing with certain things. In fact, some people actually still play solitaire with a deck of playing cards. For people who feel that the information age has left them behind to some degree the chances are quite good that online learning may not be the best available option for you.

Below you will find a few questions that can help you narrow down whether or not you would truly benefit by taking some of the many online courses that are being offered in today’s information age of learning.

1) Are you disciplined? This may seem like such an innocuous question because we would all like to think that we are disciplined to some degree. The problem is that when you are in the driver’s seat for your own education you need to have a little more than some small degree of discipline. You need to be able to meet deadlines, take the tests, and hold yourself responsible for actually learning the information that you need to learn in order to pass the course. There is no one to blame but yourself if you do not manage to do well in your online classes and some people simply do not like being in the drivers seat when it comes to motivating and pacing themselves and their learning practices.

2) How do you learn best? We all have different methods of learning for which we retain information better than others. Online courses are reading intensive. If you have difficulties retaining the information you read you may need to find an alternate learning method or seek solutions with the assistance of the course instructor before moving forward in an online learning environment.

3) Do you have a true desire to succeed? The answer to this question is quite important in determining whether or not online learning is in your best interest. There are many paths you can take in order to achieve the education and degree you desire. This is not the path of the masses, at least not yet. This type of learning, more than any other is easy to give up on through apathy. If you aren’t determined to do the assignments, to study the notes, and to really learn the material that is presented to you then you really do not need to waste your time or the instructor’s time by continually making up excuses. Online courses are largely self-paced but you do have a limited amount of time in which to learn the material before you need to move on. The teacher is responsible for providing you the information and material but you are responsible for everything that happens from that moment on. Are you ready for that responsibility?

Whether you are a first time college student or a professional that is returning to school after a long absence online learning can open new doors of opportunity for your learning pleasure. You must be willing to walk through those doors and take the information that is presented to you however in order to be successful. My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will carefully consider whether or not the lack of structure that many online courses provides is going to be conducive to your specific learning and educational needs before taking the plunge.
If you happen to be fortunate enough to live in a community that has a community college you should really make the time in your schedule to check and see what kind of classes they can offer that can help you advance your education and your career. You might be amazed at the different types of courses you can take even on the community college level. I know that I have found some of the courses that are offered and the degree of learning that takes place to be quite impressive. I think that many people who have in the past disregarded the important role that community colleges play in providing an affordable venue for learning will be quite amazed as well.

Community colleges have an undeserved reputation for inferiority when this could not be further from the truth. A good many of the nations nurses are products of community college educations. In many states, the associates degree nursing programs are quite rigorous and provide more clinical experience than most bachelor’s degree nursing programs. This means that students graduating nursing school with an associates degree in nursing are often better prepared to deal with patient care than those who have the ‘superior degree’. This by no means is meant to disparage B. S. Nursing students at all. In fact, most hospitals will not even consider you a candidate for an administrative nursing position unless you have the Bachelor’s degree. This is only meant to point out that associates degree programs can be quite competitive and inclusive despite common misconceptions.

Of course there are other benefits to learning on the community college level, at least for the first two years of your education. One of those benefits that speaks volumes to me is the fact that teachers in community colleges are dedicated to teaching. They are not working on their own research or books. They are there for the purpose of helping you achieve your goals, which means you aren’t an interruption in their pursuit of their own goals.

Community colleges also offer an excellent buffer for students who may not have been on top of their game academically in high school or those who are returning to college after a long absence from academia. You won’t find the large auditorium classes on the community college level that major universities are famous for offering. You also won’t find that teachers do not have time for their students. There is a lower teacher to student ratio in community colleges so that professors will have time to address the needs of students.

Another benefit is that even if you do not go on to get your four year degree after completing your community college education you will find that your earning potential is significantly improved over those who do not have at least a two-year college education. Research also indicates that students who complete a two-year degree program at a community college are more likely to finish and get a four-year degree than those students who begin their educational experience at a four-year university.

There are a few problems that can be associated with a community college education and you should take note of these so that they do not become a problem for you. First of all, some universities do not accept many of the courses that are offered on the community college level as transfer credits. Make sure that you know what courses are required for the university that you are planning to transfer to in order to avoid this. You also may find that you are limited on the courses you can take and the times in which they will be available. Make sure that you have all the limited courses well ahead of time so that you aren’t taking another year of classes in order to graduate.

All in all, a community college education can be just as enlightening as a university education if you enter into the process with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I hope you take advantage of this much less expensive option before moving on to university courses if possible.

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