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How to find the right community college for you

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Maybe you are looking to save money or perhaps you have family obligations that are keeping you from pursuing a college degree full time. No matter what your reasons are for attending a community college, take the time to research your options and select the college that best fulfills your academic and career goals.

Here are a few tips that may help you make a more informed decision as to which community college would be best for you:

Conduct extensive research

Your search for a community college deserves the same amount of time and effort you would devote to looking for a four-year school. You will want to find out as much as possible about a prospective community college by visiting both its Web site and campus and reaching out to a school’s former and current students.

Isa Adney, author of "Community College Success," told Fox Business that it is important for students to consider a school's neighborhood, faculty engagement and what types of people make up the student body. If possible, you should ask to sit in on a class as this will give you an idea of the type of student who attends this school and the faculty’s teaching style.

Community colleges often have a very diverse student body, ranging in age from late teens through mature adults. Ask yourself if you will be comfortable in a class with both recent high school graduates and adults who have been in the workforce for years.

Seek information on a community college’s success rate

If you intend to graduate from a community college and continue your education at a four-year school you will want to research the community college’s success rate. According to CNN Money, quoting from information provided by College Measures, an education research organization, a school’s success rate is determined by the percentage of students who graduate with an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year college within three years.

If this information is not readily available on the college’s Web site you can check the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator for comprehensive data on the community colleges you may be considering.

Think ahead while researching

If you plan to study at a community college for two years with the intention of transferring to a four-year school, be sure to speak with your advisor or visit a transfer counselor to make sure all your credits will transfer. If you know which school you want to transfer to, bring a copy of the college catalog or the school’s Web address to your advisor so he or she can help you to register for appropriate community college courses.

"Two years goes by very fast, and it is vital to know as soon as possible what [courses] will transfer to…not waste any time or money on classes that don't count towards their intended degree," Adney told Fox Business.ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800841480-ADNFCR - helping you find colleges and universities that offer the accredited programs that most interest you.

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