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Community College: A Stepping Stone To Selective Universities

Most people often wonder if they should enrol in a community college or opt for direct entry into a four-year university. Community College Is A Stepping Stone To Selective Universities. It has its own appeal. Chief among them is that it comes with an affordable tuition, academic flexibility as well as school-life balance. A new study shows that community college might improve students’ chances of securing a spot at a selective university.

Community College: A Stepping Stone To Selective Universities

Some researchers (Justin Ortagus, Assistant Professor, University of Florida, and Xiaodan Hu) discovered that, students who transferred from a community college were 24% more likely to attend a selective university than students with similar background characteristics who started at a four-year institution.

Ortagus and Hu specialise in the study of higher education; their study included 7,110 college students nationwide in the US. It was noted in The Conversation that selective universities generally admit students based on criteria that is related to past academic performance and test scores; they differ from open-admission institutions by admitting almost anyone who applies.

Students in the study who transferred from a community college to a four-year university were more likely to be minority, low-income and academically underprepared students with low high school GPAs.

According to the researchers, they said, “Based on the academic characteristics of these students, starting at a selective university out of high school was likely not an option. But for the fact that community colleges can open the door to selective universities”. However, their study accounted for differences in students’ race, family income, academic preparation and other characteristics.

Benefits of community college

Two researcher, Ortagus and Hu highlighted practical reasons for enrolling in community colleges that can go a long way in explaining their findings, some of which include:

Cost

Attending a community college comes with a low price which can help students save money, helping price-conscious students make progress towards their degree at a low price.

Course options

Community colleges offer more remedial course options than four-year universities, which can benefit students who are not prepared for college-level work.

Less reliance on grades for entry

For transferred students, SAT scores may be less import than students who are directly seeking admission out of high school. There are caveats for some of those who attend community college-goers, the researchers note.

“37 percent of students who transferred from a community college to a four-year institution are less likely to earn their bachelor’s degree than students who start at a four-year university. They also said, when they eventually complete their bachelor’s degree, it takes them about three months longer to graduate”.

Students who transfer from a community college to a four-year university may experience a wage penalty as they begin their career as some community college credits don’t always transfer to a four-year university, leading to delayed entry into the workforce.