General Question

Katniss's avatar

Community College vs University?

Asked by Katniss (6606 points ) October 23rd, 2013 from iPhone

My son wants to go to MSU, but has decided to knock out some of his core classes at the local community college.
Most of his friends are doing the same thing.
Is this the norm these days?
I worry about him taking all these classes and the credit not transferring.
Does anybody have any experience with this?

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18 Answers

janbb's avatar

Yes. Your community college should be able to give you clear guidelines as to which course credits will transfer and which won’t, particularly if the successive institution is a state university. The process is called “articulation” for some reason and there should be info on the community college’s web site. If there isn’t, you can call the college and make sure which courses will be accepted. It is quite commonly done around here.

Katniss's avatar

@janbb Thank you! I’ll look into it a little further. I’d really hate for him to waste his time with classes that won’t benefit him in the long run.

livelaughlove21's avatar

It is very common, yes.

I didn’t start at a community/technical school for that purpose, but that’s what happened anyway. However, your concern about transferring credits is valid. Quite a few classes I was told would count ended up not transferring, and the university I transferred to was the nearest one to the tech school, so you’d think they’d know what would transfer and what wouldn’t.

It might take some work, but if he knows what he wants to major in, he can most likely obtain the curriculum from MSU and a listing of what courses at the community college transfer as what equivalent course at the university. I wish I would’ve done that.

Katniss's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Great idea!
He’s back and forth between majoring in history and physics. They’re so closely related you know. lol
Looks like he and I have some research ahead of us. Better safe than sorry.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Yes, that’s becoming the norm for families that aren’t financially well-set. Some parents are able to write $55K checks to baccalaureate schools without blinking, and they never miss the money. Most people aren’t so fortunate.

Community college is affordable, and there are no costs for room, board, and travel. Generally,100% of a community college degree transfers to an in-state, public university. The student doesn’t lose any credits and graduates after two years. You might want to research the program offered by your own state.

By the way, I’ve taken dozens of courses at my local community college, just for fun. With maybe a handful of exceptions, the classes were excellent. The instructors are there because they really want to teach, not because they’re living off the largesse of tenure.

wildpotato's avatar

Yes, this is increasingly becoming the norm. It’s what my fiance will be doing next year. Seems like the smartest way to go, to me.

Try this site.

Neodarwinian's avatar

” Is this the norm these days? ”

Quite the norm these days. Less expensive option.

Make sure the university that he wishes to transfer to accepts the credits he will take at the community college and spells out specifically what is needed to transfer from lower division to upper division work.

California had a problem with San Francisco State not being specific on transfer credits and students were spending a semester or two making up unspecified transfer credits.

A recently passed state law corrected that problem in California.

Judi's avatar

This is the best way to go. The teachers at the community college chose teaching as a career. The teachers at most universities are grad students fulfilling requirements.
You get a better education for less money.
A good counselor should be able to guide him to classes that are transferable.

bolwerk's avatar

Talk to the school and plan out a course regimen at the community college.

I’ve talked about this before.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Judi I’ve only had one grad student as a professor. She’s a PhD student. Most grad students are TAs and have little input as to what happens in the classroom. I’m not entirely sure your assumption is correct. You’re right that many of them didn’t intend to teach when starting out, but I found that to be true in both types of schools.

At the technical school I attended (the closest thing to a community college around here), all of my nursing professors were RNs and my psychology professor was a retired psychologist. They clearly didn’t always have the intention to teach, either.

While studying psychology and criminal justice at a university, I’ve been thought by professors that once had careers as clinical psychologists, lawyers, judges, and various careers in research/academia. I don’t see this as a bad thing at all. Sure, those that go to school for teaching are going to have effective teaching methods that were taught to them, but those teachers only teach what’s in the textbooks. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about my fields of interest from people who truly know it and have experienced it first hand.

hearkat's avatar

It worked well for me and all my credits transferred (25 years ago). It seems that most community colleges have agreements with the 4-year institutions and that courses which will not transfer are typically denoted as such. Be aware that the grades have to meet certain criteria in order to transfer, too.

johnpowell's avatar

I did the first two years at a community college. I got a AAOT. I transferred to a four year school in Oregon as a Junior without any problems and I saved about 20K.

Katniss's avatar

Thank you all so much for you feedback!
I think I’m more stressed about this than he is. lol
It really is a relief to know that a large amount of people go this route.

Wine's avatar

Yes it’s the norm, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for everyone. I started off going straight into the university and I’ve seen transfers drop out because they enter the party scene now that they’re away from home but they’re also getting into harder classes that get into their major (whereas for freshman it isn’t difficult to maintain good grades in GE classes even for the party high students); some don’t know what they want to do yet, so while they’re at a CC they don’t know which direction they want to go in; they don’t have a plan, I’ve noticed that those that successfully transferred from a CC to a university within a decent amount of time are those that have a straight plan to get all the way through college; they just don’t know how to study, obviously this does not apply to all CC’s but those around me that’ve attended both schools noticed a difference in academic standards.

Wine's avatar

I’m surprised that the previous answers said it’s easy to transfer credits. Counselors don’t always give a solid answer (though it may sound like they do when they talk to you). I would always run an academic plan through more than 2 people and do research online. If you go through this process you’re going to need to double-check and clarify that papers were received, rules/qualifications don’t change throughout the year, etc. Dealing with any college can be tricky because they don’t care if you were given incorrect information, if you didn’t get the papers in or take the right courses, too bad so sad.

chelle21689's avatar

Very smart of him. It saves a ton of money! I would double check to see if it transfers. I earned my bachelors through a community college then transferred

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s the way to go and in my experience the foundation classes like chemistry, physics and math are often taught better at the CC. It’s usually someone who is retired and actually wants to teach running the lectures. You’ll get more help if needed since the class sizes are usually around 30 and not 300. It saves a small fortune and the potential is there to get into a better college if H.S. grades were lacking. It’s true that some credits will not transfer but those are usually not core classes like Math or English.

Judi's avatar

Bing a strong self advocate also helps. My daughter went to three different colleges before she got her degree and actively advocated for credits to be transferred showing work done and going over the head of the first person at one point. She ended up with more credits transferred than she first expected.

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