Community colleges often enjoy less than stellar reputations among prospective college applicants and their families. Often, these reputations are wholly unfounded! Community colleges can provide a wealth of academic, financial, and social support to both students and to their families.
In Fairfield County, one of the more well-known junior colleges is Norwalk Community College (NCC). I recently began providing academic planning/career counseling services to a small cohort of students there. In that role, I've had the opportunity to learn of the myriad scholarships offered by the NCC Foundation.
The PATH Scholarship, for example, offers students who do not receive financial aid to have their full tuition paid for. For those who do receive full financial aid, a check is sent to them each semester in the amount of what would have been spent for tuition. Award recipients can use this money in whatever way they see fit. In a very real sense, they are getting paid to attend college and to succeed academically! NCC Foundation scholarships are available to those with academic promise as well as to those who are sole wage earners of families with children and to many others as well.
Beyond the opportunity to save money, community colleges tend to attract students who choose to live at home or with selected roommates off campus. For the student who may not be ready to transition to an away from home situation, the community college can be ideal. As a commuter college, with no traditional dorm life, the majority of students work either part or full time.
Community colleges offer specialized services to students whose
first language is not English (ESL), students with learning disabilities,
emancipated teens seeking to earn a GED, mature adults who are returning to
college after an extended absence, and all who simply want to continue their
lifetime learning through their extensive Continuing Education Programs.
And for those high achieving, competitive students who may feel that a community college education may be beneath them, consider that if one were to major in Liberal Arts and Sciences and obtain stellar grades, the opportunity to transfer to a prestigious senior college does exist! Since a typical 120-135 credit Bachelor's degree consists of approximately 65-70 credits in the liberal arts and sciences, obtaining that portion of a degree at a lower-cost community college may be a viable and cost-saving option.