What does matter?

First, it matters who the college accepts.

My community college has an open admit. Just like my undergrad giant university. That means there are lots of people there who, based on their beginning abilities, should not be in college. And I have taught some students who I wondered if their abilities were sufficient to get them through college.

Second, it matters what kinds of students go to the college.

I went back and looked at my syllabi from small to medium university and compared them to my cc class. They are very similar. But they weren’t identical.

I expected a bit more independent work from my university students. Part of that was because I could, though. And it wasn’t because they were necessarily better students. It was because they weren’t working full-time and they weren’t single parents. That, I’ve found, is the biggest difference between the two groups.

University students are usually single without kids or married with or without kids. They aren’t usually single parents. They also aren’t usually working full-time.

Community college students are about evenly split between straight out of high school, or still in high school doing dual credit classes, and people who have adult responsibilities, either because they are older coming back or because they are parents. They are often parents.

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