Considering getting your associate degree at a community college? A new study finds that first step for college students — attending a two-year school — could help you be successful attaining a bachelor’s degree as well.

The study, released in November by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, finds that students who earned an associate degree before transferring performed the best, with the highest graduation rates of all transfer students.

  • Seventy one percent earned their bachelor’s degree within four years
  • Nearly 80 percent either graduated or remained enrolled at a four-year institution
Overall, the report found that about 72 percent of all transfer students either graduated or remained in college.
Here’s the breakdown:
  • Sixty percent of students who moved from a two-year school earned their bachelor’s degree or a higher degree within four years.
  • Twelve percent of all transfer students had not graduated but were still enrolled during the three years studied (2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08)

The center’s “snapshot” reports, released throughout the year, use data from more than 3,300 universities and colleges to gauge enrollment and transfer patterns.

A previous report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that 45 percent of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had been enrolled at a two-year college previously. So there’s a strong possibility you may end up transferring to a four-year school.

If you’re thinking of starting out in a two-year school and transferring, the study is encouraging and shows that a community college experience can be beneficial to your education path.

But you also still need to be prepared for any difficulty you may experience in transferring. As you’re checking out community colleges or enrolled in a two-year school, ask about what type of credits easily transfer over (and which don’t) and try to determine if the schools on your transfer list and even states are making changes to help make the process easier for transfer students who want to earn their next degree.



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