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Schools High School - CC - University

  1. Jul 27, 2009 #1


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    What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to a Community College right after high school and then transferring to a university? Would it give me better/lesser chances of being admitting to a top university??

    I'm asking because I have many things to consider right now, which includes the financial budget of my family.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2009 #2

    You can get in
    The general ed requirements can all be handled at this level


    If you have the stats to contend at the top level, doing this will hurt your chances. The very top schools don't take many transfers, even from other 4-year universities

    You don't get the same academic and social offerings a "top" university can offer.
  4. Jul 28, 2009 #3
    You're absolutely right for the "BAD." Stanford, for instance, admits just over 1% of transfer applicants per year.
  5. Jul 28, 2009 #4
    I'll add some 'good':
    - smaller class size for undergraduate level courses. You can expect 18 to 20 students in an undergraduate physics, chem, or biology class, where the same course in a 'big university' will have up to 150 in a large lecture hall.
    - Accesibility of faculty (see above - you can email them, call them, stop by an office, or show up early for class and chat).
    - Undergraduate classes AND labs with doctorate-level instructors. Community colleges don't have grad students to use as cheap slave labor, so the labs and all undergraduate science courses are usually taught by PhDs. (I.e., there are no 'recitation' or 'tutorial' courses taught by some disinsterested grad student who 'has' to be there to earn his tuition assitance.)
    - In-state transferability: In spite of the difficulty of getting into a 'top university' as a transfer, most community colleges are tightly wed to their home state's university system. In Maryland, for instance, you can take an engioneering program with 100% guaranteed transferability of credits towards your degree (and U of Maryland is one of the top engineerring schools in the country).
    - Reduced room/board: in addition to tuition savings, a community colege allows you to stay in an area where you often already have housing, familiarity with the area, and a job.
    - Scholarships: Most scholarships (including ROTC) place a higher value on your grades in college than in high school, for deciding who gets how much. A Community College can be a good place to show yuo can succeed, get good grades, and work towards a scholarship at a state school.

    - Social aspect: unless you go to a large commmunity college, you won't have the opportunity to meet as many people (especially internationals), or be involved in as many clubs, interests, sports, etc.
    - Research: Very few undergrads get involved ni any research in their first two years of college, but there are virtually no research opportunites at a two-year institution (it is the nature of the type of service provided).
  6. Jul 28, 2009 #5


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    Well I'm only thinking of going to CC for 1 or 2 years, just to get the gen ed (and some major requirements) out of the way. But seeing that the acceptance rate for transfers is very low, it doesn't seem such a good idea at all.

    I figured that AP courses would most likely be sufficient for the general education requirements anyways.
  7. Jul 28, 2009 #6
    Correct about AP credit. I have friends who went into their first semester of college registered as juniors because of the amount of AP credit with which they transferred in. Another question though: are you set on a top tier university? Because there are many - still tier 1 even - universities whose transfer admittance rate is much, much higher than that of Stanford's, MIT's, etc.
  8. Jul 28, 2009 #7


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    I have my own list. Of course not all of top are going to tier 1 universities. Although I'm hoping to get into schools such as Berkeley or UChicago.

    My ultimate dream is Caltech :tongue:
  9. Jul 28, 2009 #8
    Then a few suggestions to consider...

    1. There is money out there. If you're not even applying to these schools because of finances, you're making a mistake. Apply for every scholarship you can find, fill out the FAFSA and talk to the financial aid department in each school. Worst case scenario: take out a loan and come out of school in a bit of debt. But even that isn't too bad when you consider that an investment-which it is.

    2. A second option, is to strive to go to one of those schools for graduate school. Go to CC for a year or two, transfer to a state school or something like that, kick *** there, and get a partial or full scholarship to graduate school.

    Personally, I'd go with option one.
  10. Jul 28, 2009 #9
    You can also get up to 30 credits towards your general ed and basic requirements via the CLEP exams.
  11. Jul 28, 2009 #10
    Just to throw in my two cents, I go to a large state school and have had lots of transfer students in my physics classes. This is only my personal experience, but it seems that people who transfer from CC's have two main problems. 1) At my school the course prereq's are structured so that it is impossible for a student to finish the entire physics curriculum in less than three full years. Make damn sure that you keep this in mind and know what the course progression is like at the institution you want to transfer to. 2) I've seen CC students crash and burn. This is probably not true everywhere, but in my experience, CC kids transfering into physics have already taken a few physics classes at CC that are really at the advanced high school level. They come into the university thinking the classes will be just as easy, only to find that they're way behind on what they should know. Once again, take this with a grain of salt as I'm sure this isn't like this everywhere.
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