There is a lingering perception in some circles that a community college education falls short of a four-year college education in terms of meeting student needs, preparing them for careers and providing a quality student experience.
While each college experience is unique, community colleges offer exceptional value, flexibility for students with jobs, and focused expertise in readying students for up-and-coming professions.
Here are some common myths about community colleges worth dispelling:
Low tuition means bargain-basement education – Tuition is low at community colleges because of state and federal funding. Community colleges are fully accredited institutions, offering a range of courses just as challenging as those at four-year colleges, including honors programs. Some community college instructors have Master’s degrees, some have Ph.D’s. A community college education can smooth the way into the workforce or a four-year college.
Disconnect between community colleges and employers – Contrary to what some may believe, there is a healthy, active pipeline between community college graduates and local employers. Employers scrambling to find workers with the right stuff often turn to Norwalk Community College (NCC), as the college tracks industry trends and deploys Associate degree and Certificate programs to produce workers who can hit the ground running.
Community college out of sync with students – Better educational pathways help students make the transition from K-12 to community college, four-year institutions and even graduate degrees. New teaching methodologies and technologies help faculty readily accommodate students’ schedules. NCC has forged collaborative relationships with companies to help expose students to work opportunities in up and coming industries such as veterinary technology, homecare training, culinary arts and hospitality management.
Community college credits do not transfer to four-year colleges – Credits earned at community colleges do transfer to four-year institutions. It is important for students to meet with a guidance counselor at their college to ensure that they are taking courses that will lead to acceptance of completed credits into a bachelor’s program. Some community colleges offer a 2+2 program, which ensures that credits count towards transfer to specific colleges.
The overall student experience is lacking – Just because community colleges are not residential institutions does not mean students are unable to enjoy the college experience in other ways. There are plenty of options for students to enrich their time on campus. NCC offers students the chance to partake in drama productions, choral groups, student government, clubs, honor societies and countless volunteer activities. Students need to explore these opportunities and take advantage of the many pursuits colleges offer them.