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Does attending a CC hurt opportunities for grad school?

  1. May 22, 2013 #1
    Okay, for financial reasons I am just a tad late to the party on where I will be attending school for my Freshman year in college this fall. I have been accepted to several schools in state (I do live in Alabama though, so nothing special) but I feel like saving an incredible load of money at a CC for two years would be a wise thing to do, and because I am paying for my education that is what my parents want me to do.

    However, I am fully aware that CC's are far less rigorous than four year universities, and I am wondering if attending a CC for two years will hurt my chances of getting into a decent grad school?

    In case it matters, I am going to major in Physics. If that doesn't work out probably Biology, or some Engineering.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2013 #2


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    Generally speaking, no it won't.

    One potential concern is the quality of education, as you've pointed out, but this is an issue regardless of whether you're at a community college or full university. It's important to get a good foundation in the first and second year courses before you move on, but just because you got to a big name school does not immunize you from getting stuck with a professor who doesn't care about her students or a TA who struggles to communicate. Do some legwork and assess the quality of education that each institution gives.

    Another potential pitfall is a limit on resources or opportunities. One advantage of a university is that you will probably have more opportunities to get involved in research earlier. For first and second year this isn't such a big deal though. You also likely won't have weekly colloquia (open talks given by visiting or local professors about their research), for example to attend. Again, at the first and second year level, you're not likely to get a lot out of these anyway.

    You're also likely to meet fewer physics students and when you do transfer into a unversity you might find that many groups and friendships have already formed, so joining in may be more difficult that it would be had you started in first year.

    These are all higher order issues though. A graduate committee reviewing your application is unliky to rank you lower because your first year physics courses were taken at a community college, provided you do well in your upper year courses.
  4. May 22, 2013 #3
    I dont think it will hinder you at all. The important, core classes and ever so important research experience happen in the last two years.

    My CC classes were not less rigorous than my state university classes. But my county had a high level and high quality CC system, or so I'm told.
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