Alumni transfer advice

Steve Hassien

Some students are frightened about the possibility of another school, whether it is the finances or the distance or the degree of difficulty. Other students look at community colleges as the 13th and 14th grade’ or as a continuation of high school.

The number of students enrolled who actually transfer to a 4-year college are not as high. According to www.ucop.com, state colleges have admitted 14,665 transfer students from a California community college this past fall. The average number of students at community college is about 25,000 (Saddleback Community College) and at CSUs around 35,500 (California State University of Long Beach).

Many students drop out of community college, fail to go on, or are satisfied with the education achieved from the classes taken or the AA they received.

One of the greatest advantages of community colleges is the opportunity to experience different fields. If you are not sure what you want to major in, community colleges are a good place to figure it out. They offer courses, they help you find out what you are interested in and get you on the right path to be able to transfer.

It is common for a student to change majors more than once. The demographics of community Colleges and a State universities are different. State colleges are far more diverse and have many international students.

Also, the size of the campus is vastly different. The campus at California State University of Long Beach is over 300 acres, has 63 academic departments and 24 centers. The campus may be beautiful, but within 10 minutes of the campus you will find yourself in the area where Snoop Dogg grew up, which isn’t the safest place compared to the places around here. For example, Irvine and Mission Viejo are annually voted as two of the safest cities in America.

People refer to community college as a school where you go to get your work done, move on and don’t meet many people. At 4-year colleges, the opposite is happening. Within two weeks of the first day, there are people talking to you trying to get you to join a club, a frat, and sorority, etc.

There are more demonstrations (political and social), and more people talk to one another. Especially people within your major. You see these people on a regular basis because your classes are in the same building.

There are upsides of being at a community college. Probably the most important one is the cost. The cost per unit at a community college is $18. At a cal state it ranges from between $600-over $2000 depending on how many units you take and if you are a full time student or not.

Many students at a community college live close to the school and have a job. At a 4-year college, it varies. Some students like to focus on studying so they don’t work and if they do work it’s only a part-time job. You have to factor in the cost of living. Rent, food, gas, etc. Believe it or not, the parking is actually worse at 4-year schools than at community college.

Also the prices are different. An annual pass at community college is about $70. At some 4-year colleges it can be close to $200 or more. No doubt going to a community college is the cheaper of the two. Plus, you can explore your interests better at a community college without it costing an arm and a leg. Book prices are about the same, and we all know they don’t come cheap.

Some would say that a 4-year college is definitely harder than a community college and I would have to agree.

There is more reading involved, more time spent on homework and the exams are a little tougher. But there is still enough time to mix in a little partying here and there with your newfound buddies from school. I would definitely recommend students go to a community college for two or more years and transfer to a 4-year school with junior standing.

There, you can focus on what you want to do and choose classes in your major without having to worry about the class deemed “unnecessary” at community college.

I would encourage students to pursue degrees at a 4-year college. The highest degree students can get at a community college is an AA, which people know these days, doesn’t get you far. Don’t get me wrong. It’s better than a high school diploma or no diploma at all.

At a 4-year school you can get anywhere from a bachelors to a masters or even a doctorate at some schools. Some state colleges also have programs to transfer to graduate schools (like law school). Obviously, the higher degree you obtain the greater your income should be and everybody likes money.

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