What to Look for in a Community College?

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Community college often gets a bad reputation, but many community colleges are actually a fantastic option for prospective students. Community colleges are typically much cheaper, and many still provide a high-quality education that can set you up for future success. However, you need to vet community colleges carefully, ensuring that you pick the right option. Your college choice will likely shape your future career, so ensuring that you pick the right option is vital. Thankfully, whether you’re looking for community colleges in Pennsylvania or in California, there are common factors that you can use to ensure your choice will live up to the hype. So what should you be looking for to determine a community college is of high quality? Let’s look.

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One of the first things you should investigate when trying to pick a community college is the quality of education. There are plenty of resources that allow you to analyze the quality of the courses a college offers. For example, you can see reviews from alumni and past students, giving you an idea of how professors at the institution teach and what material they cover. You also can look at statistics such as acceptance rate, retention rate, and graduation rate, allowing you to see what kind of students the college accepts and how successful they are within the school. If a community college has good metrics and reviews, then it is one that you should add to your shortlist of options.

Career Opportunities

Although the quality of education is extremely important when deciding on a community college, it is not the only thing you should look at. One of the biggest things you need to worry about is the career opportunities that the school can provide. Does the college have any programs or connections that can make it easier for you to find a job after graduation? These pathways are a great way to get a guaranteed job after school and can set you up for great success in the future. You may want to look at statistics like average earnings after graduation, helping you to get a better idea of just how successful a school’s graduates are. If a community college has lots of different career opportunities for you to pursue, then it can be an attractive option.


A big reason why people choose to go to community colleges is due to the reduced price. As a result, it’s no surprise that price will likely be a major factor in your decision. If a community college costs a lot of money, then it loses a lot of its appeal. Why pay a lot to go to community college if you can’t afford it or can attend a more established university for a similar price? However, if a community college is affordable and allows you to get a good education at a fair price, it should be considered.


Another common tactic that college students use is transferring credits. Many college students attend community colleges for the first year or two to complete their general education courses. These are courses that everyone must complete, regardless of major. During your freshman and sophomore years of college, your schedule will likely be dominated by these general education courses, regardless of where you choose to go. It isn’t until your later college years that your classes become more specialized and advanced. As a result, many students attend community college to complete general education courses at a lower price, later transferring their credits to their desired university. If you plan on doing this, then you need to ensure that the community college you choose has transferable credits. If so, then you can greatly reduce the amount you pay for college and still get a specialized education at a larger university.