Community colleges are hot. Nationwide, some 7.3 million students attend them and, all told, they comprise nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
Too often, though, they’re a final destination instead of a starting point. That’s in part due to misperceptions that credits are difficult to transfer to four-year colleges to obtain a bachelor degree.
Like a lot of stereotypes, it’s far from the truth, especially at Michigan’s top 14 colleges and independents.
Some of the best schools in Michigan, the independents are also some of the most welcoming to community college students, with specially trained admissions counselors who make what can be an intimidating transition a smooth one.
The difference between an associate and bachelor is huge. Start with pay: It’s $400 per week higher, on average, for those with bachelor degrees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And that’s just on average. The gap grows wider as careers progress. Within 10 years, the difference between an associate and bachelor pay grows to $25,000 per year on average.
And the Michigan independent colleges make it easier than ever to transfer. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider.
- Plan ahead. Know which courses transfer for full credit. Check guides such as the ones operated by the Michigan Transfer Network or the Michigan Department of Education.
- Call ahead. Hook up with a counselor at one of the Michigan Colleges Alliance member colleges and universities. If you are early in your community college career, they can offer advice on classes to take, which to avoid and how to ease transfers.
- Get ahead. Meet regularly with advisers, keep them informed of transfer plans and make sure they are in touch their counterparts at transfer institutions. They get paid whether you use them or not. Use them.
No doubt. Transferring is a big endeavor. But it’s well worth it and will change your life for the better.
That’s because Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges are national leaders in education that help students chart a path to rewarding careers.
With low class sizes and award-winning faculty, the schools are proud that students forge lifelong bonds with professors.
Often comparable in price to public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates for a truly unique and affordable experience.
Be bold. Be different. Go independent.