College quandary: Community College?

In summary, the individual is facing the decision of attending community college for 1-2 years and then transferring to a state university, or attending summer courses and starting at the same university. They intend to pursue a physics major. Due to unavoidable circumstances, they were forced to apply to colleges late and initially believed community college would be their only option. However, they received a letter from a local university offering them a spot if they attended a six-week summer course. The cost of community college is cheaper, but the individual is considering the quality and potential opportunities of attending a university. They have spoken with a representative from the community college who mentioned that many students transfer credits to the university. The conversation also includes recommendations from others, such as starting at
  • #1
Currently I face the problem of either attending Community college for 1-2 years and then applying to a State University or attending summer courses and starting off at the same University at the start. I intend to pursue a physics major.

To make a mildly long story shorter: Due to unavoidable circumstances I was forced to apply to colleges late, as in around March of 2009 (My graduating year). Originally I was disappointed but realistic to believe that the local community college would be my only shot on the basis of my average grades, financial costs, and the fact of applying late. However optimistically I applied to Florida State University (Local to me) even though I was past the deadline of acceptance. Having not heard back from FSU I assumed that community college was my path although today I received a letter that I would be guaranteed a spot in the fall semester if I attended a six week course over the summer, Attendance mandatory all days. This would knock out my plans for travel and a job, however that is a small cost to pay for what could potentially be a life changing opportunity to attend a university instead of starting out a community college and later attempting to transfer. The cost of the CC. Is much cheaper and it is a factor to consider, but it does not hold the same weight as what would grant me the best future. I can make due with a few loans.

My question is, how important are the first two years of classes? Would taking classes at a Community college (which would have a less respectable class then FSU) impede my educational opportunities? Would it be more difficult to apply to a Uni. after 1-2 years of CC? Given my situations what path would you recommend?

Additional information can be given if requested.
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  • #2
Some things I would look into:

See if the Community College you are interested in has an agreement with FSU with transfering credits
Look at the required courses (both major and general electives) for your intended program and compare them to the courses offered at the CC.

I started out at a branch that is similar to a CC. I ended up having to do 4 years in addition to that when I transferred because of how the core classes fell.
  • #3
Essentially the quality of your education will depend on the effort you put in, not the institution attended.

Sure, less may be expected of you at a community college, however, nobody says you have to do the bare minimum. You have the same potential either way. Some of the brightest people I know went to community college for financial reasons.
  • #4
Flat said:
See if the Community College you are interested in has an agreement with FSU with transfering credits...
I have spoken with an admissions representative at the CC. They mentioned that many people do transfer credits and that FSU will accept the majority of credits offered.

mbisCool said:
Essentially the quality of your education will depend on the effort you put in, not the institution attended.

Sure, less may be expected of you at a community college, however, nobody says you have to do the bare minimum. You have the same potential either way. Some of the brightest people I know went to community college for financial reasons.
This is what I believe myself. I worry about the quality of the courses provided even though I would be taking merely base credits to start college. My mentor / teacher recommended that I attempt to enroll in a university to better prepare myself as Physics as a major may be more rigorous then what most people prepare for in CC. (Or at least that is my impression) I prefer to believe that I am also above the influence of my peers (to a negative degree) but I can't help but think that even subconsciously being around less motivated people, and in general being expected to do less will effect me negatively.

I suppose that by me finding faults in the CC route has in a way already determined what I wish to do. Believing that it is a significant decision however, adds to my quandary. Thank you both. Any additional comments are welcome.
  • #5
As a physics major it may be beneficial to start at university. This will allow you to develop relationships with your professors possibly allowing you to begin research early on. Generally less will be expected of you at a CC, however, in this case it simply becomes a matter of perseverance.
  • #6
I would make sure there are enough physics/math classes as to not slow down your graduation. I would also make sure everything you take would transfer properly (as stated in previous posts). If those two things hold up, my advice would be to go to community college for at least a year.

I am a physics major myself and if I could do it all over I would go to community college for one-two years depending on how many physics and math courses I could take. Of course if you are getting a good deal financially then there is no reason to go to community college. However, if it costs a good deal more then there is no reason not to go to a community college and then transfer to, essentially, whichever school you want.

I wouldn't even say that the physics courses are better at Uni than Community. I would probably argue the contrary. The intro physics classes at Uni cycle through so many students and non-physics majors the classes are really quite bad. At Community College there aren't as many heretics taking physics classes and what have you. I think you would have a smaller class and could get some good prof time in and learn a lot if you are into it.

I mean why pay more money for the same classes? Especially for the intro series of classes...

I would somewhat agree with the above post, but meeting professors in intro classes... its a bit of a dream really. I don't think you will make much headway with that. They aren't really going to care about someone who hasn't done calc or physics yet. I think 3 years is plenty of time to meet professors and get to know them.
  • #7
Another thing to keep in mind is the size if the school you wish to attend. As Sheneron stated you may not even have professors as instructors for your intro classes, or they may be simply unapproachable.You may even be in class with up to 600 other students. On the other hand instructors at a community college are primarily there to teach and the intro class sizes are smaller. Essentially if you can save a lot of money I would suggest community college for a year or so.
  • #8
For what it's worth, I began my physics degree at a community college and have no regrets.
  • #9
If I went the CC route how difficult would it be to get accepted into a university? By that I mean, how much of your high school transcripts, GPA, SAT, Etc. counted towards transferring colleges? In high school they are everything, but would it go more by your actions at the CC or about equal between that and HS?

My apologies for the relentless assault of questions that I'm sure are asked here many times over. It is just that my resources for individuals to discuss this matter with are seldom to none. All of these responses have relived me of much worry. I feel confident that whatever path I may take, that things will work out for the better. I do greatly appreciate the responses.
  • #10
From what I understand (and from experience), it is much easier to transfer into a school than to get accepted to a school right out of high school. Much easier.

After a year or two in college whatever you did in high school will mean absolutely nothing. If you make straight A's in community college you should be able to get into just about any school you want (save of course ivy leagues and the top dogs).

So, if there were a tougher school you wanted to get into rather than one you were planning on going to, go the CC route, make all A's and transfer in.

That is what happened to me. Tough school I wanted to get into, so I did good at Uni and transferred in no problem. This is why I wish I would have just done CC and transferred in after a year. Rather than wasted money at Uni and then transferred.
  • #11
At the very least you can attend the CC for a year and do a couple semesters of calculus along with a bunch of your general education courses.

Then transfer to the state school and spend 4 years there - with a leg up on the math and extra elective space due to the reduced number of gen-ed's you will need to cover.

I've spent 2 years at a CC, and will be spending 3 at a state school. Saves money, smaller classes, and usually better teaching (at least at my school anyways). In truth, I wish I could get a BS from my local CC.
  • #12
GPA is almost everything when it comes to transferring from a community college. SATs typically aren't even considered, and with 60 credits HS transcripts aren't considered either except to meet requirements for subjects such as foreign language and government. The GPA requirements are lax compared to freshman entrance. I've known people that transferred to Berkeley with a 3.5, and UCLA with a 3.3. This is greatly dependent on the competitiveness of a particular major at a particular school, however.

I wouldn't worry too much about the quality of the education as compared to a university. Developing a personal relationship with my professors at community college was wonderful, and I still keep in touch with them even though I've been gone for a while.
  • #13
Check the transfer agreement between your CC and the state school also. If your state school only takes a small percentage of transfer students and gives priority to those transfers with an Associates-Transfer degree it may make it harder to transfer without taking a bunch of courses that won't directly transfer.

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