6 tips for picking the Best 2 year College for You

Hard to believe my son Cameron will be attending college in just a couple of years. He is interested in attending a 2 year school such as New Hampshire Technical College, and Vermont Technical College. The nice thing is we a dead in the middle between both schools so commuting is an option. In all honesty cost is one of the driving factors behind his choice of schools, along with some very strong programs in fields he is interested in. Both schools come highly regarded and you can transfer directly into a four year program without losing any credits. Many two year or community colleges offer this great money saving option in their programs.

In order to help Cameron out I started doing some research on how to choose a good two year college. A quick Google search led me to this very helpful article by Kim Clark of CNN Money (http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/06/pf/college/best-community-college/index.htm)

Here are six tips that can help you choose the best community college for you:

Eyeing a specific community college? First, take a look at the school's the success rate, as compiled by College Measures. Then, look up its graduation rate and transfer statistics on the federal government's College Navigator web site.

Keep in mind that there are other factors that may impact a school's success rate, like the quality of its feeder high schools, and state rules governing transfer credits, but it is a good starting point, says Mark Schneider, president of College Measures.

"When people look at these (low graduation) numbers they think they are going to be in the 10% who will succeed. But the odds are that you won't," he says.

How does your community college stack up?
Call the four-year college or university you'd eventually like to transfer to, and ask which community colleges they accept the most students from.

Ask the community colleges you are considering if they have an honors program for which you could qualify. Many community colleges with low or average overall success rates have separate honors programs that graduate or transfer a high percentage of their students, notes Bailey. A list of colleges with honors programs can be found at the National Collegiate Honors Council site.

Ask the community college if they have any guaranteed transfer programs to four-year universities and what course and grade requirements you must meet to qualify. If they don't have guaranteed programs, ask which universities have "articulation agreements" that will at least give you some guaranteed credits.

Call the office for a specific program you're interested in and find out about their success rates. "Just because the [community] college's overall graduation rate is low doesn't mean their nursing program isn't great," says Schneider.

If you think you might need to catch up on some basic math or other courses, ask the college about how they teach remedial courses.

Analyses of traditional remedial courses at community colleges show very high failure rates, Schneider notes. "Ask if they are teaching those courses in a new way, and what their record of success is," Schneider advises.

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