Community colleges have that?

By Meg D’Souza
25 Blog Communitycollege 700x500 April202425th Blog April 1200x627

April is Community College Month!

For us community college marketers, however, every month is Community College Month. I’m constantly thinking about what makes community colleges outstanding to the point that I often feel tempted to hit the, “Apply now!” button on our clients’ pages.

My front-row seat to what makes community colleges the best place for higher education puts me in the perfect position to celebrate Community College Month by listing just a few highlights of these incredible institutions.


Everyone knows your name 

I bet you can guess the first three things people say when you ask why students should attend a community college.

  1. It’s more affordable than 4-year institutions.
  2. It’s close to home.
  3. It has small class sizes.

Until I transferred to my university and sat amongst 150 of my nearest and dearest friends in lectures, I didn’t understand why small class sizes are key.

The smaller student population allows both faculty and staff to form connections with the students.

With this connection, faculty members earn their students’ trust and learn how to best assist them throughout their educational journey. Is Sally suddenly earning Cs when she was a B student? Is Doug suddenly attending fewer classes?

Knowing their students well enough to notice a change in habits gives instructors a chance to introduce them to staff who can guide them. Maybe Sally didn’t know she could get free tutoring. Perhaps Doug needed help with transportation.

The strong connection among staff, faculty and students can be the difference between a student leaving college or continuing because they feel supported.


Opportunities abound

Rural and urban colleges offer opportunities at the local, state, and national levels to show students what they are capable of achieving.

An advantage of attending a community college is that faculty members can serve as club advisors, giving students a chance to more fully explore their interests. Among them may be an art club that introduces students to artists, gives them opportunities to work on projects in the community, and collaborates with an art gallery where students can host exhibitions.

At the regional level, community college students seeking to hone their leadership skills may have an opportunity to join a president’s leadership program. That’s right, a program run by the college’s president! Students get to work directly with their president and meet elected officials, business owners, and other notable leaders.

We can’t leave out clubs and organizations for both CTE and transfer students that include opportunities at the national level, allowing students who have never left their state to travel and network with like-minded individuals.

For example, students enrolled in business and technology programs may be able to join the Business Professionals of America organization, designed specifically for CTE students. This organization presents the opportunity to attend conferences and compete at the regional, state, and national levels in Workplace Skills Assessment Program events, where they put their new skills to work.


Resources galore

Free mental health counseling. Food pantries. Clothing closets. Laptop rentals. Transportation vouchers.

Community colleges aren’t buildings where students come to class, turn in homework, and leave.

They are supportive communities that do their best to make resources available to alleviate challenges for students.

This can look like academic resources, including free in-person and online tutoring, research assistance with librarians, and FAFSA workshops.

It can also include resources to assist the large population of students who face food and home insecurity to help them stay in college, graduate, and get the careers they’re after to improve their quality of life.

And remember the opportunities I talked about? About 300 words ago? Those include programs like TRIO and MESA, among others, that support underrepresented students by walking beside them on the path to earn their associate degree and smoothly transfer to a four-year college or university.


And, and, and…!

I could present a 100-yard paper scroll with more reasons why community colleges are the stepping stone to a bright future. The bottom line is that community colleges have the unique opportunity to serve a diverse population of students and do so with great pride. They meet each student where they are and help them exceed their own expectations.