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College Corner: More bang for your buck

College1
[/media-credit] Academic Advisor Michelle Warkentin shares tips on how students can get started with their community college applications.

Warkentin shares the benefits to applying to local community colleges

College Corner is a column about all things college, covering everything from college preparation to tips on application.

“What are your plans for college?” the inevitable question that everyone asks you when you are a teenager. This can be a frustrating and even humiliating question for students if they are unsure of what their future holds.

As I meet with seniors who are currently buried in college applications and studying for the college entrance exams, even they are unsure of how to answer this question. With college applications at a record high, nerves about getting into top universities are also at an all time high.

Today I want to talk about the “back up plan” for many students. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for students attending a private Christian college or even an Ivy League school, but I know that is not a reality for many students. And it is not simply the academics that can be a struggle but also the hit it may take on a family’s wallet.

Community college used to be viewed at as a last resort or a fall back plan, but this negative perception is beginning to change. In many cases, two-year colleges are being viewed as a cost effective platform to get you where you want to go.

The Center for College Affordability & Productivity cites that “Students at community colleges save, on average, $4,183 in tuition over public four-year institutions, and $22,741 when compared to private four-year schools.”

This is not a figure to disregard, that amount of money could be a new car or down payment on a house! With more college students graduating college with massive amounts of debt, this may be a good option to consider.

The community college is an excellent option for students seeking a vocational degree, associate degree and/or planning to transfer. We have rigorous programs of study for students decided on a major. As well as many introductory courses and services designed to help students explore majors. — Brandon Huebert, Trio Counselor/Coordinator at Clovis Community College (CCC)

Since students are mainly taking general education classes the first two years they are not really missing out on anything by taking this alternate path. Some students worry that the units they are taking will not transfer easily to a four-year university.

However, if you enter the community college with a plan in mind and work closely with your counselor this should not be an issue.

“Lots of community colleges work closely with area state colleges or universities to ensure credits transfer directly,” says Farestad-Rittel, a financial whiz at the popular discount company Gift Card Granny.

Now I am aware that there are some downsides to attending a community college, such as the lack of the “college experience” or exciting dorm life. I am also not encouraging this option for someone who has their heart set on a specific career path and is accepted into their dream school.

However, I do want to open the eyes of students who are still weighing out their options and aren’t ready to determine their career path at 18. I believe that the community colleges are doing a great job of preparing students for four-year colleges and making sure they are taking the appropriate classes to get them where they want to go.

Brandon Huebert, Trio Counselor/Coordinator at Clovis Community College (CCC), encourages students to apply because of the various programs available.

“The community college is an excellent option for students seeking a vocational degree, associate degree and/or planning to transfer,” Huebert said. “We have rigorous programs of study for students decided on a major. As well as many introductory courses and services designed to help students explore majors.”

Both Fresno City College (FCC) and CCC have Honors Programs for students who have maintained an excellent GPA and have the desire to transfer to a California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) after two years.

There is also a program called IGETC, for qualified students that may improve their chances of being accepted into a competitive UC campus and/or program by first taking the required coursework at a community college.

Huebert also advises students to apply to community college because of it’s cost efficient tuition for opportunities and programs in education.

“At a fraction of the cost,” Huebert said. “The community college provides a quality education with personnel who believe in creating opportunities one student at a time.”

Whether it is your first choice or your back up plan, the community college has a variety of programs and opportunities for students.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more on College Corner, read Sept. 5 column, College Corner: Responsibility begins early.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 14 column, Ebola virus continues to infect.

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    Logan RoodAug 30, 2014 at 2:36 am

    This picture is adorable! Good job, Kristen!

    Reply