Many parents I encounter seem to have some blind spots when it comes to their student’s readiness for college. Their student’s lack of readiness is not usually an academic issue but, rather, a maturity issue.
Many students have no idea of what they want to study by the time they arrive on campus. This, of course, is the reason so many students are taking six years to graduate. If your student is going to be in college for six years because they need two of those years to explore what they want to do with their lives, that exploration period will be a lot less costly at your local community college.
The stereotype of the community college has changed drastically over the last ten years. Many campuses, including our own College of DuPage (COD), have the look and feel of many four-year colleges. Indeed, about 30% of graduates from community colleges are actually out-earning their four-year degree counterparts.
The student services offered on campus are identical to a four-year college from personalized academic counseling, to career counseling, to research opportunities. Many community colleges, including COD, offer paid internships and study-abroad opportunities. Overall, our community colleges are doing a great job and getting vastly improved outcomes.
Will your student miss the “college-experience” by spending two of their years at a community college? Is it difficult to make friends when your student enters as a sophomore or junior at a four-year college? Actually, your student will meet many other transfer students who share the same fears and new friendships will be made with them. Usually, before the end of their first semester, they will feel fully assimilated into campus life.
If your student is not ready for college, at least explore your local community with them. It may be the best thing you can do for your student and for your pocketbook!