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Preparing Students for Community College

To be delivered at Council for Opportunity in Education conference, September 11, 2013

Sara Goldrick-Rab

on 10 September 2013

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Transcript of Preparing Students for Community College

Preparing Students for Community College

Community Colleges are Valuable
Yes, community colleges and their students need more resources & support to succeed.

But they remain the most affordable & accessible option in postsecondary education.
Step 1:
Community College= Real College
Don't treat community college as a last ditch/default option

Preparation is required

Students need to know how to go to 2-year colleges too

Step 2:
Equip students with tools for success
Community colleges have fewer advisers, students are more likely to work while in school, and teachers have less time, so:

Teach time management skills
Discuss approaches to seeking & managing employment while in school
Practice strategies for effective & efficient help-seeking behaviors
Step 3:
Prepare for Placement Testing
Students must pass exams before being admitted to college-level courses; many are waylaid at this point

Encourage students to take math during the senior year of high school
Explain the purpose of placement tests, implications to time-to-degree and costs of attendance
Give students a sense about which placement tests they should prepare for
Community College
is a Destination

Treat it as such, prepare students for it,
advocate for support as though our college futures depend on it (they do)

And perhaps student success at community colleges will increase.
Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin-Madison
So, how do we best prepare students to attend them?
Step 4:
Discuss Degrees and Transfer
Ensure that students know the range of degrees offered
Explain the importance of finishing the associate degree before transfer, if a 4-year degree is desired
Encourage students to learn about transfer options from day one, plan their courses accordingly, and visit the transfer center often for help

Step 5:
Discuss Plans B, C, and D
Community college-bound students often attend because of scarce resources, family obligations, and/or a sense that they aren't quite ready for 4-year college or university
These things may get in the way, so lay out options
Help them figure out who they can call along the way
In particular, talk about the steps to financing college year after year

Full transcript