Community colleges and online courses address two of the most pressing issues facing students today - college accessibility and earning an affordable college degree. Which is a better option for you? Community colleges have always played an important role in higher education because they are often perceived as the most accessible point of entry into a college system. In a job environment where college degree holders earn significantly more per week than high school grads, and have much lower unemployment rates, the demand for an accessible education has never been higher. Resources available to meet the needs of working adults in the community college system can sometimes fall short. That's where quality online courses, like StraighterLine can make a difference in supporting your success.
Can you get all the courses you need at your community college?
Sometimes. More and more community college students are getting shut out of classes and access to the educational programs they need. There’s a huge cost to all of this waiting – every missed hour, missed class, or missed semester is a missed opportunity. According to research from Complete College America:
- 20% of community college students say they were unable to get into a class needed for their degree.
- 33% of community college students say they had not gotten into a class they wanted to take.
- Only 5% of two-year associate degree seekers graduate on time.
According to the same data, "evaluations of two-year community colleges are now based on three-year graduation rates." For students trying to control the cost of college, that "extra" year mean means paying an "extra" year's worth of tuition for school. Since an affordable college degree is directly related to being able to graduate on time, students must have access to required courses when needed.
Can online courses help you be more successful at your community college?
If you are trying to decide if taking an online course is a better option than taking the same course at your community college, consider the following:
1. Course availability
As we noted above, it can be difficult to enroll in the courses you need at a community college. Popular degree programs, like those is nursing and healthcare, can get full fast and courses are often unavailable when you need them. In contrast, all courses at StraighterLine are available 24/7. You can simply enroll and start earning college credit today. Online courses win.
In a traditional classroom course you are going to have to complete lessons and papers on deadline and show up for class and exams at appointed times. Online classes at traditional schools often follow the similar schedules as those offered in classrooms which can cause conflicts and slow the progress on your degree. With StraighterLine online courses, you can complete general education courses at your own pace and on your own time. If something comes up at work, you can take an extra week to prepare for a paper or exam - or pick up your pace when you need to get a course complete by a deadline. For flexibility, online courses win.
The cost of college is the #1 issue facing most college students today. Compared with taking all your classes at local community college tuition, you can save more than half with StraighterLine - and you can complete the courses according to your schedule, allowing you to avoid conflicts with your job or family life.
4. Ease of transferring credits to your school
StraighterLine courses are guaranteed to transfer for credit at our over 150 partner colleges, including community colleges. If you are attending a school outside our partner network, our courses have been accepted for transfer at nearly 2,000 other colleges and universities.
5. Student support to help you succeed
StraighterLine offers wraparound support services that include 24/7 tutoring, student support accessible via chat, call, or in-course request, and course nudging designed to help you stay on track and complete your courses on your time table and with more success.
6. Time to earn your degree
For students pursuing an associate degree, the stats can be eye-opening. Only 5% of full time students earn their degree in two years. However, students successfully completing online courses have been shown to have significantly higher on time graduation rates. For example, from StraighterLine have dropped out before earning their degree. Quality online courses have been proven to increase your success, count for credit towards your degree, and save you money.