Should You Attend A Community College or a University?

The choice between attending a community college or a university depends on many factors, such as your plan for higher education and the requirements for admission.

Despite the advantages of community colleges, many students still prefer to attend 4-year universities. They offer a variety of facilities and a more rounded student life. Community colleges usually have 2-year programs that allow students to transfer their associate’s degree to a full university.

Both types of higher education institutions are valid, how do you pick the right one for you? Here are some of the differences between community colleges and universities to help you decide.

Degree Programs

While a community college’s degree programs typically take two years to complete, most four-year universities require students to take general education courses for their first two years.

Some students may choose to take the two years of general education at a community college instead of going to a traditional university. Doing so saves them from having to take many of the same courses in the first year. This can also allow you to save money, as community college courses can often be less expensive.

Student Life

Although community colleges are usually cheaper than universities, they do not have the same level of resources as their four-year counterparts. This means that many students do not have the opportunity to participate in the typical college experience of living on campus or participating in campus life.

If you’re choosing to do 2 years at a community college in order to complete your general education requirements, you may struggle to adapt to university life due to not having entered the university at the same time as your peers. 

Class Size

Most community colleges have small class sizes, which allows for more interaction in the classroom. However, many of their faculty members are employed part-time, which makes it hard for students to have access to their professors. With bigger universities, it can often be the opposite. Your professor may be full-time, but you’re often in bigger classrooms that can range between 40 to 100 students at times. This can lead to a less personalized experience and even the possibility that your professor won’t even know who you are off the top of their head.

Flexibility

Compared to traditional universities, community colleges have a much more diverse student body. They typically have a student body that ranges from 17 to 60 years old, and the average age is around 30. Due to the varying types of students, community colleges are often much more flexible when it comes to your situation. Community colleges often offer more night classes or are more understanding if you have a job or a child at home that affects your attendance.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.com

The Highest Rated Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S.

The U.S. News has released its top five liberal arts colleges in the United States.

One notable change in this year’s rankings is the decreased emphasis on standardized test scores. Given the fluctuation in requirements for standardized tests, the report put less stock in those scores.

Taking into consideration factors like class size, acceptance rates, and student outcomes, the list includes four schools from the Northeast and one from California. Schools on the list have small class sizes in common among them. Other factors include faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving.

Institutions on this list also have a leg up regarding social mobility. That is, the schools all score well on the improvement of their graduates’ circumstances after graduation. That is measured by comparing the status of pell grant recipients after they graduate. The Pell Grant program is reserved for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

Here are the top five liberal arts colleges in the United States:

Williams College

Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College boasts an acceptance rate of only fifteen percent. Williams College graduates join an alumni body full of influential people, including President James Garfield.

Amherst College

Also located in Massachusetts, Amherst College welcomed an inimitable freshman class. Eighty-five percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes.

Swarthmore College

In the Philadelphia suburbs, Swarthmore College is ranked as the third-best liberal arts college in the United States. Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 and is one of the earliest co-educational institutions in the country.

Pomona College

Pomona College is the lone entry to the top five list from outside the Northeast. With an acceptance rate of only nine percent, Pomona is one of the most selective institutions in the country. Pomona is also notable for its commitment to diversity in its student body. It has been widely recognized for its intentionality in reaching out to lower-income and first-generation college students in its admissions efforts.

Wellesley College

Wellesley College is a women’s college located in Massachusetts. Wellesley grads join an impressive roster of alumnae, including former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the first female Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Encouraging Others to Pursue a College Degree

College can be a great experience for those looking to improve their futures. However, with the increasing cost, it can be difficult to convince children and other loved ones to attend college. Despite this, there are a few ways someone can be convinced to earn their degree and better their future. After all, it will help them get a better job, make more money in the future, be more competitive with employers, learn about new topics and expand their horizons, and make new friends!

Due to all these benefits, a great way to convince someone to attend college is simply by listing the benefits of having a college degree. In the face of increasing automation and globalization of the workforce, there is more competition for jobs than ever. By earning a degree in a specialized field, a college graduate has a much better chance of landing a high-paying job despite these global changes. Countless studies have proven college graduates make more money than those who don’t attend college. Additionally, the social atmosphere at college gives students a valuable opportunity to network and create lasting professional and business connections that can lead to better opportunities in the future.

Another way to convince someone to attend college is by talking about the elephant in the room: paying for college. It is daunting for low and middle-income families to think about paying for college so many simply decide not to attend and instead immediately enter the workforce. However, these money anxieties can be conquered by looking into funding opportunities. There are many pathways to paying for college. From loans to grants to scholarships, students have more ways than ever to pay for their education. Interested individuals can talk to a college’s financial aid advisor to go over their options and create a plan to fit their individual needs and situation.

Nothing is more convincing than hearing stories from someone who’s been there. So consider sharing a personal experience from college for encouragement. Whether a story about lifelong friendships or wonderful professors, these anecdotes can be powerful for those considering college.

There are many ways to convince a loved one to attend college. Encouraging them to earn a degree can be the single most important decision of their lives, so it is a decision to consider carefully.

This article was originally published on Marilyn Gardner Milton’s website.

How Educators Can Prepare For The New School Year

With the 2020 – 2021 school year starting soon or having already started in some places, it’s time for teachers and professors around the country to make sure they’re prepared for the year to come. Teaching isn’t an easy profession and there are countless aspects that go into it, from lesson plans to supplies and everything in between. This year, in particular, is especially unique due to the COVID-19 pandemic still deeply affecting our country, meaning that in many places teachers are either doing remote learning or some type of remote/in-person hybrid. Something like this is new to the current generation of educators, and it’s understandable if they don’t know how to approach the situation. Here are a few ways educators can prepare for the new school year.

Communicate With Your Class Early On

In order to make the teaching and learning experience smoother for everyone involved, it’s best to stay on top of communication with your students or their parents, especially in the times we’re living in. Consider your options for reaching out to everyone – if you’re a college professor, you can likely email your students their syllabus and any important information they may need a week or two before class starts, giving them plenty of time to read materials over and reach out if they have any questions. If you’re teaching younger students, you’re likely better off reaching out to their parents. This can be done via email, but it might be better for you to reach out with a phone call in order to introduce yourself and ensure everyone is in the know when it comes to your class.

Check Out Your Old Lesson Plans

One of the best things about being an educator is that with each new year or semester, you effectively get to start all over again. This means you can take a look at your previous years teaching and apply what worked while leaving what didn’t work at the door. Being an educator often involves a lot of trial and error, and not every lesson will stick with your students. The fact that you get to take on a new group of students each year means you start fresh and employ new ideas.

Discuss With Your Fellow Educators

One of the few great things about how the pandemic is affecting education is that no teacher is alone. There are educators all over the country who are in situations just like yours, and most of us are figuring it out as we go. With so many peers who understand what you’re going through, a good way to prepare for the new year is to talk to your fellow educators and determine what they’re doing, and what might work for you. Share your various ideas and experiences and perhaps you may come out with a brand new idea that might make this year that much more impactful for you and your students.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Tips To Help You Pass Your Online Classes

Over the past few years we’ve seen a rise in popularity when it comes to taking college courses online. They’re great if you’re attending college later in life while working a full time job or raising children, and can also be useful when taking classes over winter and summer breaks. With the world being so heavily affected by COVID-19 this year, it’s possible that we may see a rise in students taking online college courses this coming semester. Some schools are even making all of their courses online for certain periods of the semester, such as the time between Thanksgiving and when the semester ends. Here are a few tips to help students pass their online classes.

Treat It Like An In Person Class

Just because you’re taking a class on your laptop from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you should treat it any differently than a regular class. It can be difficult to get into a classroom mentality from home, but it’s important that you have the discipline to sit down and eliminate all outside distractions so you can get the work done and get it done on time. You have to “show up” to class just like you would if you went to a physical space for it. Remember that you’re paying for this class, just like you would a regular college course. Just because it’s an online class doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult or require your complete attention.

Eliminate Distractions

To build off of the previous point, it’s important that you eliminate all outside distractions. This can be especially difficult when learning from home. The first step is to establish your work space while learning from home. This space will be different for everybody. If things such as your television or kitchen easily distract you, be sure to set up in a room not near them so they don’t take you away from your work. If this is the first time you’ve taken an online course from home, you may not know what workspace is best for you. Be prepared for experimentation, as there may be some trial and error in the whole process. Just be sure to have a great Internet connection and you should be fine.

Participation is Key

One of the most difficult parts of learning from home is participation. Since you’re not in a classroom being lectured by a professor with your fellow classmates in the traditional sense, it can be easy to shut your brain off and just absorb the materials as opposed to actively asking questions and engaging in discussions about the content. Luckily, online classes typically have some type of forum aspect where the professor will ask questions as part of your assignments and everyone must engage. These forums can be a great way to get different perspectives on the content or make sure you fully understand the material you’re learning about.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

How COVID-19 Might Change Education

Since the novel corona virus began to affect American Society back in March, schools not only across the country but around the world were shut down in order to keep everyone at home in order to flatten the curve. Students have been forced to resume education via the internet from the comfort of their homes, and many parents have suddenly become first time teachers. This can be stressful for both the parents and the children, and no matter how you slice it, the children will likely fall behind. Educators have been talking about looking into rethinking the way we educate for a while now and this pandemic may be the perfect excuse to begin doing something about it. So how might COVID-19 affect how we approach education?

More Online Learning

Since most if not all school have now implemented some form of online learning, it stands to reason that once things go back to normal it will continue to be an invaluable tool. Most students will have laptops or access to computer hardware, making it possible to give their lessons to them if they’re ever able to not make it to school or if something akin to this pandemic were to happen again. Teachers will also begin to get used to these new tools and technologies they’ve been using, meaning they may want to continue to do so. They can even be used in the classroom themselves, as opposed to only when the students aren’t in class.

A Potential Shift To Competency Based Learning

Many education experts believe that shifting to competency based learning might be the best way to approach education after the pandemic. Competency learning allows students to learn at their own pace and is “personalized” for each individual, but it also atomizes learning and heavily depends on taking standardized tests. If this does happen, it seems it might be used to see which students move to the next grade given the school year being cut short due to the pandemic.

Homeschooling May Become More Popular

It’s possible that some parents and students may feel that homeschooling has worked in their favor, allowing them to bond together while learning in a comfortable environment. Many will become accustomed to learning from home, and many parents may want to continue educating their children. Unfortunately, this won’t happen to the bulk of families as many cannot afford or make the time to educate their children while also taking care of a home and working a full time job.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org