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Five Myths about Community Colleges

Jennifer Leclaire

September 04, 2008

Five Myths about Community Colleges
“Community colleges are not inferior. It is the first choice for many students because the first two years of college are really exploratory anyway and it costs so much less,” says Victor Somma, a spokesperson for Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass. Myth 3: Community colleges are inexpensive, so the education is not high quality. Fact: Community colleges may be less expensive than four-year universities, but that doesn’t mean you sacrifice a quality education. Classes in honors programs at community colleges are smaller than university classes. The curriculum is often more in-depth and there is more open exchange between teachers and students. “We are a brand name society. Community colleges tend to be the generic brand, but it’s just as good a foundation as starting at a four-year university at half the price,” says AACC Spokeswoman Norma Kent. “Community college graduates have gone on to Ivy League schools.” Myth 4: Community college credits do not transfer to four-year universities Fact: The quality of community colleges is getting better all the time. There are more articulation agreements that are seeing four-year colleges agreeing to award credit for comparable courses taken at community colleges. “You need to know what institution you want to attend, pay attention to their requirements, and choose your classes accordingly,” Kent asserts. “The key is careful planning.” Myth 5: Community colleges have low academic standards. Fact: While community colleges offer “open admission” that breeds diversity, all courses are not open admission. In fact, students usually have to take placement tests in order to qualify for college level work. Technical and special programs have high standards and students compete to enroll. “The idea that students go to community colleges because they can’t hack it at a four-year university is ridiculous,” Somma says. “We have stringent policies, but we also offer students the extra support they need to succeed.”

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