Why students choose community college

Recent high school grads are spending the summer thinking about their next steps. Without a doubt, community colleges offer a smart alternative for a lot of students who understand that a four year program isn’t the only path to success. Hear directly from current and former students about why they made the decision to start their college career at Iowa Valley.

Starting at a community college in a transfer major program can give students experience right from the start. In many four-year programs, courses for their major don’t begin until junior or senior year. At a community college, students can gain experience early.

“I started at ECC before transferring to Iowa State University,” said alumni Megan Qualley. “I learned the fundamentals before transferring that prepared me to enter my four-year program at ISU. I’m a year ahead of my peers.”

Marshalltown Community College and Ellsworth Community College offer a variety of career training programs. These programs are one-to-two-year programs that can provide the hands-on training that employers are looking for.

“The MCC nursing program is challenging but the staff is teaching us what we need to know for the future,” said current student Madison Fogt.

Machine tool and die technology graduate Dustin Aikin is using the skills he learned through MCC every day.

“The things I am doing now, I learned ahead of time while attending MCC. A lot of the basic skills I learned in the first year of the program I use almost every day.”

Students who enter career-ready programs have access to special financial aid opportunities. The Last-Dollar Scholarship is funding that is available to eligible career training programs that covers your tuition and fees after they have been awarded scholarships and grants. That means every “last dollar” is paid. Students can graduate and start their careers debt-free.

“My friends don’t believe me when I tell them that I am taking nursing classes and with the Last-Dollar Scholarship, I don’t have to pay any money out of pocket,” said current nursing student, Elaine Dorliae.

“Getting the Last-Dollar Scholarship is a great incentive to go into this field. Nursing is the way to go,” said nursing student Megan Miller.

With a 17:1 student to faculty rate, MCC and ECC provide students the chance to not just be a number in a lecture hall.

“I chose to start playing at the community college level to give myself one to two more years to develop my skills and gain more experience as an athlete,” said baseball player Zeke Webb.

Starting at a community college can give student athletes time to improve skills, gain exposure to competition at the college level, and learn the skills the coaches in college can provide.

No matter how you look at it, community college is a great choice. But don’t take our word for it – write your own story today. Visit iavalley.edu for registration information, or call 641-844-5710 to speak to an admissions representative today.


Michele Frost is the marketing coordinator

for Marshalltown Community College.


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