The President has been pushing the idea. Some smart students are paving the way. Can community colleges undercut the big schools, at least on the first two years?
Michael Winerip at the NY Times informs us that some of the Philly schools like U Penn and Bryn Mawr are trying to grab some of the best community college students and they’re accepting them after two years. Winerip doesn’t mince words when he suggests that this path might save kids $100k+. And then they could end up with the same degree.
I’m of two minds of this. I’ve watched the Harvard Extension school for years with admiration. Several of my friends who’ve taught Extension school courses say that the students aren’t better or worse, just different. They have more experience and less of that red apple polish than the kids on the famous path.
The kids who work with Harvard Professors through the Extension school probably get the same knowledge from the professor and they may even get more from their classmates who often have more experience than an 18 year old. But they don’t get that elitist clubiness nurtured in the kids on the famous track. The kids supposedly form tight bonds with each other and use these bonds as they dominate the country if not the world. The Extension students don’t get this.
I think the transfers miss out on the freshman and sophomore year experience at Bryn Mawr and U. Penn. Yes, it’s a bunch of sturm and drang– both in the dating gossip and in the papers about literature– but it’s sort of that foxhole thing.
So is it worth it to hire a kid who finished up at a fancy college after two years at a community school? I’m going to say “Yes.” In reality, it all depends upon the kid and school has little to do with it, but I feel the need to come to some concrete conclusion. (Too many essays in my past.) So I’m going to say, “Yes. It’s a good idea.”