Needs of Community College Students
While this is no where list, here are some of the unique wants/needs that community college students may have and may influence their decision to attend community colleges and how these needs influence the work of student affairs professionals.
• Affordable way to complete remedial course work and/or core curriculum before transferring to 4-year institution for major specific courses- Academic advisors at both community colleges and 4-year institutions must have a working knowledge of the polices and procedures surrounding transfer credit. Both groups should maintain close working relationships with colleagues at institutions where a great deal of transferring takes place. Easy to access on-line transfer credit should be available to students and the process for applying for and receiving transfer credit should be student and staff friendly.
• Smaller classroom sizes- This may be a particularly serious consideration for students who are nervous about entering the college environment or have learning difficulties that can be exacerbated by large classes which tend to be more intimidating than smaller ones. Smaller classes may also allow for more one-on-one time with instructors and therefore increase academic engagement for some students. Community college administrators need to market this benefit and those at 4-year colleges should keep it in mind when advising students who might benefit for the above reasons.
• Convenient class schedules and campus locations- Students who have other obligations: work, family, community may pick a community college because its class schedule is geared towards others with these obligations. This can be a great marketing tool and something that advisors at high schools, community colleges and 4-year institutions should keep in mind when advising students.
• Larger non-traditional student populations- Having a more diverse student body, particularly older than average students and under-served populations can be a major reason for choosing to attend a community college. This diversity can help with the identity development and maintenance transitional issues mentioned in previous posts.
• Technical training, certifications, and professional development opportunities