Want to know a secret? More than 47 percent of college students in the United States now attend two-year colleges. These schools are becoming increasingly popular for students with all kinds of goals.
Okay, so that’s not really such a big secret. But you might be surprised to learn just how much two-year colleges have to offer prospective students. Everybody knows that two-year colleges are less expensive than four-year schools. But there is much more to the two-year college story. Here’s a look at some of the “best kept secrets” of America’s dynamic two-year schools.
Top Notch Instructors
Some people assume that because it costs less to attend a community or technical college, students must settle for a second-rate educational experience.
What they often find out when they enroll is the secret of quality. Community colleges have top-notch instructors who devote most of their time to teaching and to helping students achieve their goals. In fact, most community and technical college faculty members have excellent credentials. Those who teach in transfer programs typically have at least a master’s degree and many hold doctorates. Many also have real-life experiences in the fields in which they teach, special certifications, or both. An important factor is that those who teach in two-year colleges tend to regard themselves as professional teachers rather than researchers. They thrive on direct contact with students and focus their energies on the classroom experience.
Two-year colleges come in all sizes, from small rural schools to large urban colleges that dwarf some universities. But a common denominator in virtually all of them is a commitment to limiting class size. Small classes in community colleges mean a better professor-to-student ratio. The smaller classes help students get more involved, and student involvement is shown to be an important factor in overall success. Personal attention at Oakton Community College also comes in the form of an academic advisor who works with you throughout your experience – helping you plan your class schedule, linking you up with resources, and following up on your academic progress. This consistent guidance adds to students’ confidence levels.
We understand that every student brings a unique background and dream to his or her education. Oakton seeks to provide students with all the support they need to be successful. For current military and veterans taking classes, Oakton has a veterans advisor who is committed to helping those students make a successful transition to college and giving assistance with procuring education benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The colleges also employ Disabilities Resources staff on each campus to work with students with disabilities. For students needing academic help, Oakton offers a wide range of tutoring, help with time management and study skills, referrals to community resources, and more.
There’s more to college than classrooms and textbooks. To the contrary, community and technical college students can participate in activities such as athletics, student government, student activities, theater activities, music performance groups, and other activities. Oakton has dozens of different student clubs and organizations. By getting involved in clubs and other activities, you can really expand yourself.
For many students, attending a community college is the first step in earning a four-year degree or higher. Four-year colleges and universities routinely accept students who transfer from community colleges. Oakton has established many ‘articulation agreements’ with four-year universities that create direct pathways for easy transfer.
Perhaps the greatest strength of two-year colleges is their flexibility. Want to work during the day and attend school at night? That shouldn’t be a problem. Most two-year schools offer extensive evening programs, and some have weekend offerings. In addition, distance learning options include on-line courses and others that can be taken on an individualized basis. Interested in transferring? You can complete a year or two of studies at a fraction of the cost of a four-year school, and then transfer to a university. Want to avoid four-year colleges? Programs that take only a year or two to complete can prepare you for a great job in any of dozens of career areas. Whatever your goals, a two-year college can probably help you get there. Just don’t be surprised at all the options available to you.