University or community college options not made simple

It seems to be more and more common in this generation for high school graduates to attend community college after graduation, or even while still in high school.
Attending junior college can decrease tuition costs for families, as the costs are much lower than at a four-year university.
Class costs at Tarrant County College are $165 per class for in-county residents, whereas the University of Texas at Arlington are $625 per class for in-state residents.
To answer whether it is better for a student to head straight into junior college in lieu of a university, we talked to faculty here.
“Transferring to a bigger school from community college is a much more difficult process than it used to be,” said College and Academic Advisor Mrs. Webb.
It is a good idea to know what university you want to end up at, in order to know ahead of time what will or will not transfer to that school.
Another good place to start when deciding whther to attend community college or not, is by asking the question, “What kind of education am I receiving at community college versus a university?”
For Grace Prep students, it is important for college education to challenge a student at a level he or she could not have received in high school.
“I do not think a community college education is as rigorous as what a student might receive at a university, or an AP (advanced placement) course for that matter,” said Mr. Thomas Spring, dual-credit and AP teacher of government/economics here. “I consider dual-credit courses to be much easier than AP in terms of college preparation.”
Many students also take dual credit classes through community college while still in high school. Dual-credit courses are college-level courses taken by a high-school student to earn college credit.
In a dual-credit class, both high school students and students of the community college may take the same course.
Spring has taught dual-credit at TCC and knows about the quality of the coursework and believes it is geared more for high school level than college level.
Perhaps community college isn’t the best place to hone your writing skills or critique 18th century philosophy, but that’s to be expected. The level of instruction that one takes on at a university may be more rigorous to what a junior college can offer.
Students who attend community college in their first two years do not usually plan to finish their education there, however.
The standard process is to transfer to a larger university after finishing basic, general courses at the community college is not so standard any more.
“Universities have become much more stringent in their admission requirements, so it’s not as easy as ‘I’ll get my basics out of the way and transfer to A&M’ anymore,” said Webb.
Webb confirms that transferring out of community college, while a seemingly simple and appealing route, is not as practical as students may think as they can lose credits or even be behind toward preparing for their major.
In order to make a decision that is right for you, families need to talk about where the student wants to end up as their final goal, then decide which route will work best for them.
“I think it is a good idea for any student who feels either unprepared for a four-year university, or simply does not have the financial capability to attend one,” Spring said of community college.
Community college will save students tuition expenses and prepare them adequately for a university, but it is ultimately up to each family and student as to what will help them meet their goals.
To learn more about your options, feel free to make an appointment with Mrs. Webb.

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