Joyce asked: Do you believe that the risk is community college itself (i.e., is it WORSE than the universities in moral issues - which I cannot imagine!) or is it the age at which our h.s. juniors and seniors are when they encounter it? I'd really like to hear what you think about this.
I do NOT believe that the experience at community college has anything at all do do with the age of our students, and I don't believe it has anything to do with naivete in general. Read this mother's blog post. She is neither a young student, nor is she naive, and yet she has problems with community college as well - unique difficulties that we haven't previously discussed. I think that the stories we hear about our children would be the SAME stories we would hear if WE were going to community college. It's not the kids, it's the environment.
I believe that community colleges are often worse than public universities, although I know that universities have their own unique challenges. Public universities will often (not always) have higher academic expectations, and (more importantly perhaps) the students population will often have higher academic expectations. Community college students are frequently remedial in one way or another. They often aren't ready for a university -- financially, academically, socially, or for some other reason. That means they can be a challenge to educate. For that reason, professors have told me that they use the "sex sells" approach. In a high school, although there are many issues, there are generally limits to the use of sex to sell their educational product. There are usually no such limits in a community college. Community colleges are meant to be an adult environment. They cater to the broad expanse of adults, not the unique subset of homeschool young adults who don't want to mix education with unrelated material. Those adults include "adjudicated individuals" as one community college official warned me. She was extremely concerned about young, innocent homeschoolers in a classroom with newly released criminals. I'm sure the criminal element is relatively rare (although how would we know?) but the point is still important.
To me, it seems like community college will often have the socialization you normally see in a public high school. It will have the adult content and worldview of a university but without the normal limits seen at a university. Because they are public institutions, community colleges come complete with all the "public school" worldview and academics, which is the reason why many homeschoolers left public school to begin with. Some of those issues will also be present in a public university, like you mentioned, but other issues are unique because of the mix of students and teachers in a community college.
I know that I have a very unique perspective on community college, and I don't think for a minute that my view is "right" and others are "wrong." I also know that parents will make decisions about their children that I can't make because I don't know their kids - but they do! Parents are the best people to make these choices, that's for sure! I'm just trying to open the discussion to include these issues. What I see in my homeschool community is that parents are feeling pressured to put their children into dual enrollment as a Junior in high school. I'm trying to remove that pressure, so that people can make judgments based on their understanding of the situation, and not do it just because other people are doing it.
Do you have your own community college experience? Join the conversation by adding your comments!
Our oldest child, a girl, attended our local community college after graduating from our homeschool. She was there for three full semesters as well as one course before enrolling full time. She really had a very good experience, including some very good teachers and a fairly positive social experience. One class (an English class) included some raw language and topics, but she managed quite well. Some of her friends were adults, and these adults were quite serious about their academics.
She is now at a Christian liberal arts college and being truly challenged, but I believe she is fairly well prepared for that challenge (no grades yet, she just started in September!). She was a straight-A student at CC and has resigned herself to somewhat lower grades at the regular college, but that's to be expected, I think.
Overall, we were very pleased with our daughter's experience and will consider this CC for our younger children as well.
My daughter's community college experience has been generally good, though some of the problems mentioned are there. She has taken classes (largely math and computer) had Central New Mexico Community College, which has expanded hugely in recent years to accommodate people taking courses more cheaply before transferring to the University of New Mexico or other schools. It is definitely full of remedial students, and those going back to school after a long absence. Consequently, I keep reminding my daughter that this is not "real college". She is often one of the few who get an A, and about 30% of students drop out after the first few weeks, on average. On the bright side, the classes are all limited in size to about 30 students max, and usually are at least half older adults (and not any that seem to be jail releases). This actually brings higher level of maturity to discussions, as many of them have families and jobs. Those who are not trying hard usually are gone before the end of the semester. It's just the intellectual level is not too high, but then neither are most high school classes. She has also taken several classes long distance, or partly distance, so the negative social effects are absent, but one can still have a teacher to help you. We have avoided English and history classes because of word from other homeschoolers about their content, but she has benefited from being responsible for her own class attendance and assignments. Many of her classes may directly transfer to her college next year as well.
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