Community College bashing





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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Community College bashing
By Wolfpiper (Wolfpiper) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:00 pm: Edit

I took an Italian course at a CC this summer (The final was today). My professor is highly qualified, holding a double English/Italian PhD., and, IMO, did an excellent job of teaching us. She says she gets a lot of kids in her English classes from big name state universities who except the class to be cut back or ridiculously easy. They are quite shocked when they learn it's the same course, and it's not cut back for the summer. Why do people bash CCs and do you thinkl it's justified?

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:17 pm: Edit

IMO,people bash community colleges because they don't have big names and they believe that a lot of people who attend were at the bottom of their high school's class.

I am not even going to lie; I used to bash community colleges too until an adverse circumstance led me to attend one of them. I realized that people come to CC for numbers of reasons. There are even IVY bound students who just don't have enough money who attend CC. I have had the pleasure to meet some of the most motivated people in my community by studying at my school and the competition for scholarships is fierce. I graduated Phi Theta Kappa (the Phi Beta Kappa of 2 year schools) and I made it into prestigious universities.

People are always going to bash CC because they have the same ignorance as I did coming out of high school. Not everyone has the money to attend a great school and unfortunately, some people have family members to take care of (for ex. a friend of mine who got into MIT ended up coming here because her father had cancer)

I am now thankful I attended CC; it helped me out a great deal.

By Virtue_Summer (Virtue_Summer) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:03 pm: Edit

That's all true. I'm currently finishing up two AA degrees (English and History) at my community college and getting ready to transfer. When I first started college, I didn't give cc's that much respect either. I thought it would be incredibly easy and frankly I thought it would be boring. It's actually been the opposite as I've had some great professors who challenged me a lot. I've had a few duds too, but that's to be expected, I'm sure, at any school.

By Anglophile (Anglophile) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:13 am: Edit

Thank you for sharing your positive experiences at CC! Finally, people who appreciate community colleges! YAY!

As for bashing CCs, people seem to hate them because they see it as an "easy" way in to universities. They call it a "back door". Check out my discussion on Why Community Colleges thread if you want to see 148 posts on the good, bad, and ugly of the transferring process.

Personally, I did very well in my CC-- the whole Honors, and phi theta kappa thing-- and got into some really great colleges. Many of the people in my classes at CC were very intelligent and highly motivated-- and many were slackers and stoners (hehehe...Drama class). It does seem easier to get into good colleges from CCs, but not all transfer students deserve the bashing of the insecure freshmen admits (though some might).

By Kriskrass (Kriskrass) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 06:22 am: Edit

The people who bash on community college are the same people who when buy your first mercedes cant say congrats but rather "i dont like the color", there are always going to be people who get off on being a pain in the butt.

By Anovice (Anovice) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 01:37 pm: Edit

All I know is that community colleges(not really for the one I attended, because they did offer four year degrees) will have gotten me 15 credits before graduating high school. When I enter real college, I will be one step ahead.

By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:28 pm: Edit

during the summer most of the people at CC's are students from other colleges trying to get a class out of the way, so the average level of the students might be higher than normal.

However in the regular terms CC's tend to serve several populations, all of whom are in the same classes.

You have retired people (and sometimes working people in evening classes) who take classes for general interest. You have students who due to financial or other constraints intend on getting a 4-year degree but start in a CC.

You have some students who finally got serious about education after HS when they realized they weren't working hard enough in HS to get into a 4-year college, and our country can be proud that there's a way for these people to get back on track (in contrast to a country like france, where a placement exam in HS determines whether you can go to college, and which one).

And finally you have the students that people traditionally have in mind when they 'dis CCs, those who maybe don't belong there. These days its somewhat frowned upon to finish HS with no intention of college. Many parents expect their kids to go to college, even if Johnny has no interest in doing so. The CC plays the role of bridge between HS and the "real world" for these students, allowing them to at least start attending a college before quitting.

And there are lots of these students! Stats show that about 2/3 HS graduates enroll in college, and that 42% of all students in college are at 2-year schools. And the stats clearly show this "CC bridge-out effect"; of students starting at a CC only 17% get a 2-year degree and 11% get a bachelor's.

So not even 1/3 of the HS students who start at a CC will get a college degree (2 or 4 year). Some attrition is due to various non-academic reasons; people get married, have families to support, get kicked out of their house and have to start working, etc. But for many students a CC is a face-saving way to make the bridge out from HS without refusing to go to college.

A real interesting report called "Community College Students: Goals, Academic Preparation, and Outcomes" is at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/quarterly/vol_5/5_2/q4_1.asp

By Kriskrass (Kriskrass) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

"and that 42% of all students in college are at 2-year schools. And the stats clearly show this "CC bridge-out effect"; of students starting at a CC only 17% get a 2-year degree and 11% get a bachelor's."

The problem with stats like this is it ussually fails to take in the adults and people with degrees who enter community college with no need to matriculate. I mean my grandma goes to CC and she has degrees but she may add to this stat since she has started and now wont get a 4 year degree since starting but already holds one.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Let's be honest. There is a reason people encourage entering a 4 year college if you possibly can. This board has a lot of California kids who think the deal that CA has: spend 2 years in a cc, do fairly well and go to a UC, is the norm. It's not. It's the CA deal, and it's getting harder for CA to fulfill the promise. There are many reasons that smart, industrious kids end up in community college. There are also many kids in CC because it was their only option. IMHO, the bottom line in this county today is to go to the best possible college you can go to. The advice that kids who can get into a better school should choose a CC to save money makes me crazy. Many kids can get financial aid at private schools, or 4 year State schools, that make them not prohibitive. There is a serious advantage to going to one college for four years, bonding with a class and professors, participating in sports and ECs and much more. CCs are commuter schools that limit a very important range of the activities that make college a wonderful time for personal growth. I don't knock CCs for those who choose understanding the important factors, but do not ignore that it is not the traditional college experience.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:19 pm: Edit

I am thankful and grateful for community colleges. I have posted many times how they have benefitted my family and me. There are things you should know, however, about ccs which are definite drawbacks.

Many times you may not get the same course content from a cc (or really another college) as you would from a given 4 year school which can really put you at a disadvantage if you are using that course as a stepping stone for future courses. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I saw kids take CCAC (community college) computer courses, and then try to step up into a CMU course--not recommended. So your do have to know the quality of the course.

Also there are not the amenities that you will find in a residential school. There is often not the sense of community. College is simply not the main entree in many people's lives who are taking classes there.

Many time there is not the consistency in the courses or departments because of the many adjuncts who teach and a lack of cohesion in the curriculum.

Too many times it is too easy to sign up for courses and find they are full or cancelled.

Sometimes because of the makeup of the students in a class, the material has to be tailored to them rather than to the standard.

As much as we have used CCs and the positive impact they have had on my family's life, I still prefer that most kids get an away from home experience if possible. The growing up process for kids who finish highschool is as important as the academics that are learned if not more important. But ccs can play an important role even in the lives of kids who do go away for school by providing some practical application courses, some base courses, some precourses.

By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:19 pm: Edit

Kriskrass raises a good point about the dropout rate at CCs -- what about grandma and other people who never intend to get a degree? Shouldn't we take this into account? Well, we should, and the question of just how many people are in situations like Kriskrass's grandma is answered in study given in the link.

The report notes "Results from all three data sets suggest that roughly 9 in 10 community college students enroll intending to obtain a formal credential or to transfer to a 4-year institution."

So even if we take all the people who don't intend to get a degree for whatever reason into account (this is grandma, etc) , you still have a situation where 90% of the students who start at a CC intend to get a degree (2 or 4 year) but only 28% of the students who start at a CC actually do.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:53 pm: Edit

There is a serious advantage to going to one college for four years, bonding with a class and professors, participating in sports and ECs and much more. CCs are commuter schools that limit a very important range of the activities that make college a wonderful time for personal growth. I don't knock CCs for those who choose understanding the important factors, but do not ignore that it is not the traditional college experience.

I agree to a certain extent. Yes, the longer time you spend at a school, the more established bonds would be between students and peers BUT just two years can make a difference too. For instance, professors here keep in contact with graduates in their departments and give them advice the heads up on job openings. I have established good relationships with my professors and by attending a school whose classes are under 35, it allows the students to establish a close knit relationship, umlike the bigger schools that have about 60-400 students in their classes (my history class @ Chapel Hill will have about 85 students)
Participating in sports and ec's are completely optional. I have had basketball athletes at my school transfer to 4-year universities on scholarships and although CC's don't offer as much, the ec's are pretty much the same (student government, volunteer association, etc.)
Some schools, like Passaic County College in NJ have dorms for students that live a little further so the whole commuting thing isn't mandatory at all CC's. A couple of friends of mine go to Rutgers and they commute back and forth as well because they don't want to live on campus.
Lastly, there is no such thing as a traditional college experience. Each college has it's own experience. You cannot have the same experience at Harvard than you can at Chapel Hill or NYU. Some black kids and even other minorities choose to go to historically black universities. Everybody wants something different. Maybe for some, the college experience is saving money for two years, transfer, and then find a job without the greek life, football games and parties.
Back to the topic, CC is a not chance for people to see if they want to continue their education, but a chance to see what they want. I realized that I no longer wanted the city setting of NYU with no campus and preferred a suburban campus in the south. But hey,,,that's just my opinion.
*if I made a mistake be sure to correct it, I was rushing.

By Anglophile (Anglophile) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 02:16 am: Edit

YAY Yodisistim for saying that there is no such thing as a traditional college experience! Everyone has their own experience, and going to a CC instead of a 4 year doesn't make that experience any less valid.

I had a wonderful time at my CC, and had the opportunity to get to know my teachers very well. My classes were always small, the teachers knew everyone by name, and I could always stay after class to ask questions, or just to chat. I don't think I could have gotten better, more personalized treatment at an LAC. I still e-mail two of my professors there.

Yeah, there are drawbacks too. CCs are usually commuter campuses, and it is very hard to meet people. I only have 1 friend that I met in two years at CC-- and we met as tutors in the writing lab. The class selection is limited, as are the ECs, but that's why you transfer to a 4 year school. That said, I don't feel that I missed out on anything by going to a CC instead of a 4year college.

By Kriskrass (Kriskrass) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 04:33 am: Edit

"Results from all three data sets suggest that roughly 9 in 10 community college students enroll intending to obtain a formal credential or to transfer to a 4-year institution."

"So even if we take all the people who don't intend to get a degree for whatever reason into account (this is grandma, etc) , you still have a situation where 90% of the students who start at a CC intend to get a degree (2 or 4 year) but only 28% of the students who start at a CC actually do. "

you seem to mix getting a credential with transfer to a 4 year college and then mix that with a degree =)

I really am not going to aruge over this I just think there are many paths to living ones college/professional/social/love life and whatever they choose I dont think we should bash it.

I know CC is not the greatest however it isnt the worst if you choose to use it it is there for you.

I wonder if any study also looks at the amount of kids who drop out of 4 year colleges then decide to go to CC but also drop out?

Mom101,
"Many kids can get financial aid at private schools, or 4 year State schools, that make them not prohibitive."

If your parents make over 100k you are pretty much cut out of any aid you husband is a Stanford MBA you know this. I cant get crap even after CC untill I am 24 due to my parents income. I know I dont need aid or to save money but I will be damed if spend a cent more than need be on a college education out of my parents pocket, thats why I loved CC.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 07:51 am: Edit

Krickass, the squeeze of the middle class, especially in high cost living places like CA, is one of the biggest problems I see in attaining quality college educations. You are truly an example of this--$100K looks like a lot of money to anyone outside of CA and a few other places. That's why we have the cc to UC system here, which ends up working for so many. It's just unfortunate that because of CA's budget woes and huge number of college age kids coming down the pipeline, everyone deserving will not be served. But when you look at stats for the country as a whole, you see that many kids who would be desireable to private colleges simply don't know that they can get fin aid and be at a 4 year school. Yes, there are different ideals of the college experience. Yet I think it's hard to argue that 4 years at one place, where one is not commuting and gets a cohesive experience, leaves more time for experiencing everything a school can offer. You have clearly made the best of the hand you were dealt, and that's what matters, but in an ideal world you might have been on a grassy campus with time to contemplate your navel. I see so many kids who just plain don't know that the option is there. But Kriskass, I have to say that I think you will do well at whatever you pursue because you have learned how to make systems work for you. I am aware that the cozy life my own children lead will make someone like you tough competition because you have accepted tough realities. What are you doing now?

By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 02:13 pm: Edit

Kriskrass writes "you seem to mix getting a credential with transfer to a 4 year college and then mix that with a degree"

If there is any confusion I think its you just refusing to see what is plainly obvious.

The very next 2 sentences in the report show that "credential" is a synonym for degree, as most people can surmise from the original sentence I posted from the report. They say "As shown in figure A, among all NPSAS undergraduates enrolled in public 2-year institutions in 1999–2000, 11 percent of first-year students and 10 percent of continuing students reported no degree or transfer intentions. Similarly, among BPS students who first enrolled in public 2-year institutions in 1995–96, 11 percent reported no intentions of earning a degree or transferring to a 4-year institution " Presumably 90% DID have such intentions.

You're welcome to believe any interpretation of the facts you wish, but the plain facts are this: if you ask students entering a CC if they intend to get a college degree 90% of them will answer yes. Yet if you follow CC students only 28% of them will *actually* get a degree (either an AA or BA).

I'm not saying this to "bash" CCs but it does give one reason why people tend to look down on CCs. They attract students that for a variety of reasons are not going to earn a college diploma (either AA or BA), and in fact these students form the majority of those attending CCs.

Personally I think CCs are an institution we can be proud of. They offer a low-cost opportunity open to all, small classes, and the chance to move on to a 4-year degree at a top college. Some of the posters on this board are doing exactly that. However as Jamimom and Mom101 point out, there are drawbacks to attending a CC as opposed to spending all 4 years at one college.

By Kriskrass (Kriskrass) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 04:24 pm: Edit

I am at UCSD right now doing summersession to knock down some units. I start here fulltime in the fall. I think I might have liked the full 4 year experience to be honest I just liked CC, I always lucky to have the finicial support but I just didnt fell like going to a 4 year who knows why. I think the reason I liked CC was the fact all my friends were there =P. I agree California is pretty crazy as far as cost is concerend. I dont need aid or anything since my parents own a condo in La Jolla I just live in it and go to school and they support me but hell I would have liked some aid =), Maybe we suck at finding aid cause my sister didnt get more than 5k I dont think from NYU, Oh yea reason I didnt apply to privates schools is I never took the SAT hehe

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit

People can bash all they like, but this year selectivity for the nursing program at Middlesex Community College near Boston was greater than for non-legacies applying to Harvard.

(and in my state, it is much easier to get into the University of Washington than the nursing program at South Puget Sound Community College.)

By Apacolypse (Apacolypse) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Community colleges are cool. When I was a high school junior and senior, I took classes at a CC that weren't offered at my high school. It was kind of fun going to 2 schools at the same time. Plus, UVA liked the fact that I was willing to look outside the confines of my secondary school for knowledge and learning, which helped me to get in Early Decision. Furthermore, I was able to transfer those credits to Virginia too, so I started my freshman year with all these credits from my AP and CC classes.

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 02:06 pm: Edit

This may not be the belief of everyone but perhaps the following can explain a chunk of the reasons why people don’t like community colleges. High school is not difficult. Doing extremely well in high school is difficult. It is not necessarily the coursework that makes it hard either. The social pressures are tremendous in high school. High school is very often a popularity contest. Further, many kids must deal with the influences of drugs, sex, peer pressure, style, etc while in high school. It is hard for a kid to choose succeeding in school when there are so many distractions. Perhaps those students who actually spent their time dedicated to doing well in high school resent those who got a second chance in Community College. It is my belief that many feel like they shouldn’t get a second chance.

Of course, this is only one explanation. Each person has their own reasons for their opinions.

By Kriskrass (Kriskrass) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 02:34 pm: Edit

Shyboy13,
Thats a really good point my sister was miss dedication no drinking no parties and had about 2 friends. I can see it in her that she is mad I got to be the cool guy who threw kegers all h.s never took the SAT and got expelled and yet get to go to a top tier school. I would say youre probably right. I find it hillarious that I never really tried yet I am at UCSD when most of the kids in H.S tried so hard to get into •••• like CSUF or UCI


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