# Community College

1. Sep 9, 2006

### JasonRox

How are they in the US?

I see them on TV sometimes and they look... well pathetic.

Here in Canada (more specifically Ontario), I found them to be a joke. I've attended one myself, so I've experienced them for 2 years. After talking to others who have been to other places, the opinion seems to be the same.

Are they like that in the US too? Why are they like this if everyone thinks it's stupid?

Note: If there are good ones, I apologize.

2. Sep 9, 2006

### ek

"F*** community college, let's get drunk and eat chicken fingers!"

3. Sep 9, 2006

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
My community college experience was very good. Much cheaper then the Univ. smaller class size and very good profs. I commonly recommend that beginning students do their first 2 yrs at a CC. Here as long as you stay within the state credits transfer with no loss.

The trouble is that across the nation the CCs are variable, some very good some not so good. If you are fortunate enough to to have a good one near by they can be an excellent deal.

4. Sep 9, 2006

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
I had very good teachers at my community college. Most were daytime researchers and professors at 4-year universities who taught at the CC for fun and extra \$ on nights and weekends. On the other hand, the CC administration was a complete bungling bureaucratic nightmare.

5. Sep 9, 2006

### GeoMike

My experience at CC was mostly good.

The access to the faculty at CC was a huge plus. As were the small class sizes. The only downside was that some of the material at my CC seemed a bit watered down compared to the same offerings at the local university, especially the math and science (I think it was to accommodate students of varying abilities -- the school was making the transition from trade school to CC at the time I attended). But, the teachers themselves seemed very knowledgable and many were willing (eager even) to stay after class and go over the more advanced material if you wanted to.

The head of our math and science department was a graduate of MIT and UC Berkely. He had a great teaching style and he was really freindly and down-to-earth (I got a lot of one-on-one help from him and I wasn't even in his class).
I also had a phenomenal philosophy teacher. Extremely lively discussions and debates, and he had this uncanny knack for making the most abstract and hard to grasp concepts easy to understand. I looked forward to his classes and even signed up for a few courses I had little interest in (originally) and no need for in my requirements, just so I could have him as a teacher again.

Overall my experience was good. A few so-so teachers and only one truly horrible teacher (I think he was learning the material along with us :tongue2:).

EDIT: And I totally agree with MiH about the CC administrators. The school I attended was in the process of changing from trade school to CC (and secured a number of articulation agreements with local universities). The attendence sky rocketed and the school's facilities and resources were really taxed. The school was making money hadn-over-fist but really didn't seem to put any of that money back into the school (e.g. the school only had enough parking for about 1/3 the student body. When the student's complained the school basically said "too bad, it isn't or responsibility to provide parking to every student" yet still charged all of us for parking passes. It didn't get fixed until residents in the area (who had studetns parking along the streets and blocking driveways) complained to the city which pressured the school to act).
-GeoMike-

Last edited: Sep 9, 2006
6. Sep 9, 2006

### hypatia

The one near me has gotten very good reviews, nearly every one does there first two years there. Its so much cheaper then U of Michigan, plus they can still live at home.

7. Sep 9, 2006

### GeoMike

I'm sure the parents in the area love that. :tongue2:

-GeoMike-

8. Sep 9, 2006

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I went to a great JC. All core classes were fully transferable [full credit] to Cal Tech or any UC school. My physics classes were taught by a Cal Tech Ph.D., and the math department was loaded with great teachers - a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, for one. We also had the highest transfer rate to Cal Tech of any school in the country.

It was a very special time in my life that I will always cherish.

9. Sep 9, 2006

### Daverz

It depends. I took my freshman physics courses at a community college in Southern California (palomar.edu). We used the full Resnick and Halliday, not the cut down version, and the course was fairly rigorous, and the professor had plenty of time to spend with students. But that was almost 20 years ago; I don't know what it's like now. The aim was always to prepare science majors for transfer to a 4-year college. The same school is now constructing a big new sciences building. Where they found the money in the current economic climate in California I don't know. They sure don't seem to have added many physics or math books to their library since I was there.

I would add that the English classes I took there could be damn hard depending on which instructor you took, and your assignments were graded by the professor, not a TA. That I'm still not a very good writer is entirely my own fault.

The same school does math through differential equations and linear algebra. You could get a really good education there in the first two years.

10. Sep 9, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Compared to UM, any place has gotta be good! :yuck:

(sorry, that's Buckeyespeak)

11. Sep 10, 2006

### Staff: Mentor

The Community/Junior College is as good as it's faculty, and the same rule applies to 4-yr public or private institutions.

12. Sep 10, 2006

### BobG

It depends.

The teaching quality is equivalent or better than a state university. It depends on the size of the state university - a lot of bigger ones use graduate students to teach a lot of lower level courses which means a lot of variability in teaching quality. Courses at a community college might have a more consistent quality.

It also depends on what agreements are in place for transferring courses. Universities, even state universities, want money. They don't like it when you spend your money somewhere else and try to make it hard to transfer credits. If you plan on graduating from a private university, you definitely need to know how many and what credits will transfer or you're just wasting money on courses you'll have to take over. If it's a public university, some states have put pressure on four year universities to accept more credit hours.

In Colorado, you can transfer an entire associates degree, provided you're going for the right four year degree - if you're pursuing a liberal arts degree, the odds are high that your entire first two years would transfer. For something like an engineering degree, you can probably transfer around 30 to 40 semester hours. The problem is that you can transfer all of your math through Calculus III, a couple semesters of Physics, and some humanities courses (theoretically - I know people that have had problems with this, but the pressure to accept more Community College credits is fairly recent). If you look at prerequisites, it would be hard to carry a full time schedule. It could take you two years to complete the year's worth of credits you could transfer.

It's still a good option for students who are working and going to school part time, especially since community colleges intentionally set their schedules up to target part time students. Ironically, about the only classes at UCCS offers in the evening are the same ones a person could take at Pikes Peak Community College for cheaper. Most part time students resort to attending one of the more expensive private colleges to complete their degree around here, just because it's so hard to attend the class you need at UCCS if work has to be your first priority. But that's just here. You have a lot more options in a bigger city where there's enough part time students to make it cost effective for the four year universities to accommodate them.

In general, Community Colleges are great for folks pursuing an associate degree or liberal arts degree. The quality of courses towards four year degrees are as good as the four year colleges. The big drawback is that four year colleges subsidize part of the cost of the more expensive courses they teach by charging a higher cost even for the courses that are cheap to teach. The four year colleges are left with two options:

- charge lower prices for their lower level courses and higher prices for the upper level courses (then their prices for upper level courses would be getting high enough they'd be competing with a lot of private colleges)
- charge a standard fairly low price for all courses and fight tooth and and nail to make it as hard as possible to transfer credits from other schools

13. Sep 10, 2006

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
Some community colleges are quite good, quite respectable, and will give you a very good education.

Other community colleges -- or at least some classes -- are nothing more High School Part II.

I tried to take a poetry class at a local community college, and got pretty tired of the kids yelling at each other, throwing spitballs, interrupting the professor, complaining about how "hard" his tests were (give me a break -- name the author and title of a half dozen poems), etc.

It was certainly a world apart from the stoic meetings of graduate EE classes at Stanford.

- Warren

14. Sep 10, 2006

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
The community colleges I am familiar with were a little of both. The daytime classes were basically High School Part II, where the kids who didn't do well enough in high school to get into "real" college would take more classes that were high school level to try to boost their grades enough to get into college (some because their parents pushed them into it more than that they had grown up and had a serious desire to make up for missed opportunities in high school), but the night classes were more oriented for people already in jobs looking for an associate's degree or just a couple classes here or there to brush up on something they needed to advance their career/job. For example, my mom took a few accounting classes, not to become an accountant, but just to brush up on things she needed for her bookkeeping job that didn't require a college degree. The summer classes were okay too, not taught nearly at the level the university taught classes, but university students would take some of the intro level courses there to fill non-major requirements for less than it would cost for summer tuition at the university, and got their core classes out of the way with better grades than they'd have gotten in the university course.

I also knew someone who took a few computer courses at one for the sole reason that they focused on actual practical issues rather than the more theoretical focus of the university courses in electrical engineering. She knew there was a reason to learn the theory, but thought she also needed more of the practical experience the community college courses taught to have a more balanced education.

So, it really depends on what you're looking to get out of the classes, and the quality of the particular community college, as well as which classes you take and what students those classes cater to.

15. Sep 10, 2006

### Maxwell

I went to a CC for one year and my views are rather mixed. I had some great professors, but the kids were absolute morons. I left for a 4-year university after 1 year.

16. Sep 10, 2006

### Chi Meson

I took a few classes (in nuclear chemestry) at our local CC. The professors were quite good, but the students were mostly idiots. Unfortunately, they were getting their certifications to work at the local nuke plant

I got the easiest A's in my life, so the grades were obviously inflated. (I worked so much harder to earn a C- in Quantum II in undergraduate).

Paul Hewitt (author of Conceptual Physics and just about the best introductory Physics professor ever) worked at San Francisco CC for 30 years. It depends on where you are; you'd have to be lucky.