February 22, 2012
Is-CC-right-step

Is Community College the Right Step Before Transferring to a University?

I come from a small town – population 8,000 – in southeast Colorado. Colorado State University (CSU) has three times the number of students as my town has people, so I was a little hesitant to skip right onto CSU’s campus.

FRCC Made Me Feel Welcome

The smaller campus and intimate class sizes at Front Range Community College (FRCC) made the distance from home seem closer. From the moment I stepped into the Mount Antero building at the Front Range campus in Fort Collins, the atmosphere and warm smiles made me feel right at home.

I spent two semesters at Front Range to complete my Associate of Arts degree and an additional year working there from 2010-2011. Although I am now down the road at University Avenue, I still make my way back to FRCC to pester all the familiar faces I find. Separation anxiety? Perhaps, but I would rather blame the pack mentality of being an FRCC Wolf.

Top Three Myths about Community Colleges

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that there are a lot of misconceptions about community colleges. Here are the top three myths I noticed during my transition from Front Range to CSU.

1. Universities will not accept a lot of the credits you take at a community college, so it’s a waste of money.

So not true. Out of the 67 credits I graduated with at Front Range, CSU accepted 64. All of my courses were transferable, but CSU can only accept 64 transferred credits. Front Range wants to see students gain success, not lose money.

2. Enrolling at a community college will take just as much time as applying to a university. Plus, it costs the same.

I actually went through the whole Front Range enrollment process in one day. They realize that not all students have the time to take off four days of work to register for some classes. And there isn’t an admission application fee.

Don’t get me wrong, I love CSU, but tuition isn’t cheap; even they know that. Front Range offered me enough in student loans to cover my full tuition, and offered me a job on campus. I am currently paying $600-$1000 out of pocket to cover my remaining tuition after loans at the university.

3. Community college doesn’t offer as good of an education as a university.

After taking classes at both institutions, I have a pretty good idea of the differences. I have received a well-rounded education at both Front Range and CSU. All of my professors and instructors have been incredibly passionate about what they teach.

FRCC Prepared Me for CSU

In fact, last semester I was taking a media ethics course at CSU, which was one of my more challenging classes. If it wasn’t for my ethics instructor at Front Range the year before, I don’t know how well I would have fared with media ethics. My ethics instructor at Front Range was so intelligent and enthusiastic, and just about everything he taught stuck with me.

Front Range Advantages

Some of FRCC’s advantages that won me over:

  • Cheaper parking.
  • Advisors are available for students all day during office hours.
  • Free food/snacks/events at least once a week in the student center.
  • The Wolf Card student ID costs $5 and got me the same benefits in town as my CSU ID.
  • No application fee.
  • Instructors knew my name, even in my core classes.
  • Front Range helped me get a job and internship after I had graduated.
  • I did not have to live on campus.

As a senior at CSU, I am extremely thankful for all the university has done for my personal growth and education. However, I know that this would most likely not be possible without the preparation that Front Range gave me. Anything that I can do for the college in the future, I’ll do.

Community College might not be the right path for everyone, but if there is any advice I can give education seekers, it is to at least check it out (in person, over the phone, on the website, etc.) I might be a Ram now, but I will never forget my days in the den.

Have you attended a community college? What was your experience?

About the author:

Ashley Manweiler , a native of Colorado, has just started her final year at Colorado State University. Majoring in Public Relations, she hopes to one day work as a PR practitioner for a non-profit organization.

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