February 29, 2012 — Laura LaPorte
At this time of year, high school seniors are learning their status of college acceptances for the upcoming fall semester. Technology has made it easier than ever for students to apply above and beyond the recommended five to eight colleges. This ease of application has contributed to a record breaking number of applicants over the past several years. On average, 79% of students are accepted by their first choice college according to a recent study conducted by The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2010.
An important component in selecting a college is determining your career goals and answering the age-old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Many working adults will admit they are still asking themselves this very question. According to Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of MyMajors.com, 80% of all students entering college are undecided about their major or career choice. Studies show that 50% of college students change their major once, while others will go on and change programs two and three times. Changing your major can extend the time it takes to graduate and increase tuition costs. According to The College Board, students taking five and six years to complete a four year program are not uncommon. To put that into dollars and cents, on average, public university costs run $14,000 annually and private universities can easily double that number on an annual basis.
Community colleges are a great place to start your four year degree. You will find a variety of transfer degree programs being offered with substantial tuition savings in comparison to a four year school. Two year transfer degree programs are intended to fulfill the requirements of the first two years of a four year program. Community colleges work collaboratively with four year colleges and universities to ensure seamless transfer of credits from one institution to another. This enables community college students to enter a four year college as a junior reducing their overall cost of their four year degree and for many students, significantly reducing their student loan debt upon graduation.
Community colleges are also in the business of training students to go directly into the workforce upon graduation. They offer specialized training coupled with hands-on learning through employer internships. Students earn college credits while building their resume which provides them with a competitive edge upon entering the workforce. Students have the choice of earning a one year certificate or a two degree.
At Fulton-Montgomery Community College our most popular program is Liberal Arts & Sciences: General Studies Associates of Arts (A.A.) program. This program offers the flexibility to explore different course topics while fulfilling program requirements. Students can begin to uncover their strengths and perhaps more importantly, identify what they don’t like in terms of subject matter before committing to a particular program.
On Saturday, March 3rd at 9:00 am Fulton-Montgomery Community College will hold its annual Spring Open House. I would like to invite you to attend this event. This is your opportunity to learn about FM’s academic programs, meet our faculty and tour our campus. We are anxious to share with you all the new projects and enhancements that have been made to our campus this past year and new projects for the fall. For more information or to RSVP for the event go to fmcc.edu or call the Admissions Office at 518-736-FMCC (3622). I hope to see you there!
Laura LaPorte is the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.