Thinking about community college? Shop around before you decide
Attending community college for many is an affordable way to get an education while building up either eligibility or finances to transfer into a four-year program. Some community colleges are so successful at training students for the real world that an Associates Degree from one of these schools is considered on par with a private education. This is far from the case across the board, however, as many schools have extremely low graduation rates, and the variance between students advancing their educations after attending specific community colleges is vast.
If a student decides after graduating high school that attending a community college is the best option for them, they should take a look at the available online resources that rank such schools based upon their positive and negative characteristics before enrolling.
One such ranking is made by College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes of Research and Matrix Knowledge Group, who developed a "success ranking" formula based upon graduation rate within three years of enrollment and the number of students who eventually transferred to a four-year college or university after community college.
The East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program in Covina, California, was ranked highest by far on the list with a success rating of 93 percent. The program at this school gives students job training by utilizing internships at area businesses and hospitals.
California largely swept the list, with three schools in the top ten, including Victor Valley College in Victorville and De Anza College in Cupertino taking the third and tenth spots, respectively.
The East Coast is slacking when it comes to community colleges, according to the College Measures ranking. The first school on the list from this part of the country is the University of South Carolina – Sumter, which has a 61 percent success rate, ranking at a lowly 41 on the list.
If you aren't sure whether to save money and hold off on a four-year college or are look into financing student loans for a full-time college education, the expert financial aid consultants at College Financing Group can help you make the right decision.