What some people think about community colleges in Minnesota

I’ve already received a few responses to my survey of he image of community colleges among high school staffers, students and their families.

The image I have so far: They are indeed seen as a second-best alternative to a four-year institution, either for those who aren’t yet prepared for such focus and academic toughness, or who can’t afford it.

Steven Brown of Albertville, who in 2007 graduated from Anoka Technical College at the age of 47, and who has a daughter enrolled at a two-year college, wrote in:

It is a place for career-specific training. Staff is usually positive and helpful, (but) some students I have met seem only moderately motivated, and probably wouldn’t make it in a four-year school. … I do not believe the course of study at “community” colleges or “technical” colleges is as rigorous as the four-year institutions.

Both of my daughters are or have been students at both four-year and two-year colleges. Both washed out of the four-year schools. One is still attending a community college, and the other has dropped out for the time being. Money was not an issue for them.

One University of Minnesota – Twin Cities student who was not encouraged to consider a two-year college told me:

Personally I’ve always viewed them as a step for people who want to get their general education requirements done quickly and cheaply (and perhaps less strenuously) or as a education option for someone who isn’t as interested in education or higher-paying/more elite jobs.

Amy Anderson, a teacher at North Central University in Minneapolis, said a number have taken classes at community colleges in the summer to save money. But, she said,

… it is true, there is somewhat of a feel that the quality of the instruction will be lower.

So what do you think?

I’ll be exploring some new angles — and revisiting others — as responses come in.

Give me your two cents by filling out a short survey here.

  • John

    Since the 90s data in Minnesota shows that community college students do better at the universities they transfer to than the other students there. So…while the perception that community colleges are “second-best alternative” may be widely held, the data tells a very different story.

    • Anonymous

      Good point. I think I even read something like that when I was working in California. But as I’ll be posting soon, I get the feeling that even community colleges see themselves as places where students can “get ready” for college. That may then give people the feeling that community colleges are not the “real thing,” but just educational training wheels. We’ll see.