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Succeeding at a Community College

Are Community Colleges Doing Their Job?

Sad statistic: in California, 70 percent of students enrolled in community colleges don't get their degrees or don't end up transferring to four-year colleges within six years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

These findings are troubling and show that the system definitely needs an overhaul. "It's not an understatement to say that the future of California is at stake," the study's coauthor Nancy Shulock said. "Unlike other developing countries with which California and other states have to compete, each generation is getting less educated and attaining fewer higher degrees. The gaps are large and critical and when you look at the future face of California, they are the ones for whom we're not delivering much success."

Recently, it was reported that more and more people are going to community colleges for the first year or two, then transferring to a four-year university to finish up their bachelor's degree. I asked Savvy readers if going this route was a savvy idea, and an overwhelming 88 percent of you thought it was. Some of the comments by readers shed some light on the problem that many of these two-year colleges are facing.

To hear what they had to say, read on.

  • "[Going the community college route] has been going on for years and in the past I think it was a good strategy. Now, community colleges are so crowded that it is tough to get your classes and finish in 2 years. If there is no other option, yes it is good but going to a four year college is better." —  socalbeachgal
  • "As a current community college student, I agree with socalbeachgal. It is taking longer due to budget cuts to complete the necessary courses to transfer. I have changed my major while in community college so it will take me 3.5 years to complete. I should have been done this semester but due to the cuts, not all of the classes I needed were offered for me to take this semester. This also causes a problem when I do transfer since counselors tell me that UC's and CSU's want all of your required classes completed the October before you transfer since the LAST required class I needed is not offered it could possible hold off my transfer another semester." — 

How does this make you feel to hear this statistic? Do you think community colleges are doing their job?

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Join The Conversation
Rosay77 Rosay77 5 years
I'm currently in Pasadena Community College and my counselor is very helpful. I've been in a CC since I graduated high school in 2009 and I'm eligible to transfer to a UC and/or CSU by Fall 2011. I've already applied to CSUs and TAGged by UCs. Also, if you are a transfer in a CC, try to join the Scholar's Program (UCLA and UCI). My counselor is the Scholar's counselor and he definitely knows what he is doing. If you are in California, try to join AGS Honor Society for a transcript boost. Check your CC's rating amongst other CCs. My CC has the second highest transfer rate in California (Santa Monica is the highest, followed by PCC). All my friends who where in their second year when I was in my first year have already transferred. So I do not agree with the other people who are not doing so well. I wish them luck in getting their classes and focusing on their studies. If anyone has any questions about the Transferring system, please feel free to contact me by mail.
claw claw 5 years
I went to a CA community college (more than one actually) and my counselor was great! This was in 2001-2003 so maybe they are more crowded now but if a class was full I'd just try to add and eventually enough people who were registered would drop that I would get in.
Carri Carri 5 years
My experience was this: The counselors, whose job was to help you set up a time table to transfer, had no idea what they were doing. Of course, you didn't find this out until you were getting ready to graduate because they were so overbooked that you could never get in before then. The classes you need are overbooked or not offered the semester you need them, or you have to drive to the other side of the county to take them at a satellite location. And forget about trying to change your major; you have to practically start over again.
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