By Naomi Sheehan

The cost of a four-year degree and student debt loads have risen relentlessly in the last decade. That’s why so many students choose to attend community college as an affordable alternative to a four-year school.

But education at a community college doesn’t have to end in a two-year degree. In fact, credit earned at a community college can often be transferred to a four-year school to count toward a bachelor’s degree.

Avoid debt

Education is an investment worth making, but student loan debts can be a huge burden. On average, a 2017 college graduate is shouldering a whopping $39,400 in debt, according to Starting at a community college can knock tens of thousands of dollars off the eventual bill for a bachelor’s degree.

Besides saving money in tuition costs, many Oakton Community College students qualify for scholarships and federal Pell Grants, which, unlike loans, do not need to be paid back. For more information on financial aid, visit

Experience counts

A transfer plan means completing general education requirements at Oakton Community College and deciding what major is right for you. Not only will you save money, you’ll have access to attentive faculty and benefit from small class sizes and hands-on classrooms.

Maybe you’ve got your eye on a degree from a university where your high school GPA or entrance exam scores kept you from admission. By starting at a community college, you can improve your academic qualifications.

Universities consider admissions for transfer students based more on the work they put in to previous college courses than on high school grades. Getting involved in extracurricular activities like student government and clubs can also improve your transfer prospects.

Plan ahead

The key to a successful transfer is planning. If you know where you’d like to transfer for a bachelor’s program, start researching what the university and department requires.

Oakton Community College has articulation agreements and partnerships  with universities, including dual credit and guaranteed admission agreements. That means credits earned in your first two years will count toward a degree.

What if you don’t already know what you want to do? Taking the basic classes first will ensure you don’t waste time and money while discovering your interests. Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) general education credits are guaranteed to transfer.

An academic advisor can help you work out a course schedule and stay on track, as well as help you explore program options.

We’re here to help! Contact the Career and Transfer Center at 847.635.1735 or stop by the Enrollment Center today.


Oakton Partner Agreements Save Students Money, Time

Oakton Community College has partnerships with a number of institutions, providing students with special benefits and ease of transition to their respective college or university for a bachelor’s degree. These options may allow students guaranteed admission, financial benefits, and dual advising. Here are just a few:

  • Arizona State University – Guaranteed Admission Program
  • DePaul University – DePaul Admission Partnership Program (DAPP) 
  • Elmhurst College – Dual Enrollment and Guaranteed Admission Programs
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign –Engineering Pathways Program
  • University of Illinois at Chicago –Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG)
  • Lake Forest College – Pathway Scholars and Guaranteed Admission Program
  • Northeastern Illinois University – Guaranteed Admission Program
  • Roosevelt University – Pharmacy Partners Program and Dual Degree Program

For more information, visit