Education

Smart Studying: Starting College Close to Home

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For college-bound freshmen, starting college locally and then transferring to a four-year college as a junior is gaining more momentum, especially for those still deciding on majors and careers. Smaller class sizes at community colleges and more opportunities to interact with professors is a plus when exploring these options.

And, in most cases, the pathway is already in place. Many colleges and universities have agreements with community colleges to accept these students—and their credits—with open arms.

For example, McHenry County College is an active participant in the Illinois Articulation Initiative, a statewide general education core curriculum transfer agreement. “With over 100 public and private colleges and universities participating, this agreement has a big impact on students,” noted Laurie Cubit, MCC’s articulation and transfer coordinator.

“Our courses have gone through an MCC curriculum committee review, including research on transferability,” noted Dr. Chris Gray, MCC’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “They’ve been approved by the Illinois Community College Board and are taught by experienced faculty whose focus is teaching and student success.”

Cubit said transfer associate’s degrees by their very nature are designed to parallel the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. When students transfer those degrees, especially to four-year schools where MCC already has agreements in place, they generally do so seamlessly while saving students thousands of dollars in tuition, not to mention room and board.

Tuition at MCC averages $3,600 per year vs. a four-year public school at about $9,600 and a private institution at $33,000 to $34,000 a year.

“Students can complete introductory and general education courses at MCC and be well prepared to begin upper-level coursework at a transfer school,” Cubit said.

Data from Illinois public universities shows that MCC transfer students generally do just as well if not better than their native students, Cubit added.

“For a successful transfer, it’s important to plan ahead in choosing the transfer school, talk to academic advisors, and keep that GPA up,” Cubit said. “Students should also make use of our transfer tools at www.mchenry.edu/transfer.”

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