Community College harder than State University (California)

katiemaude

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I've weighed in on the university/cc debate a few times, and while I can't speak for the California system, there is something to be said for how your experience is affected by the kinds of students in your classes, how the classes are graded (curve or no) and the individual professor's lecture style, exam difficulty and grading.

My OChem class has no dummies in it. There are a couple slackers, people who just want a B for whatever reason and don't care to fight for an A. But even the slackers always come to class. Our professor started making his exams harder after the first exam grades came back because no one got lower than a B; last year the average on the same test was a 72. Almost everyone in the class intends to major in chemistry or biochemistry. I'm the exception.
 

DrMidlife

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If they haven't done science before, that explains it. They'd be getting their butt kicked wherever they took the coursework.

The CSUs and the UCs don't sit nicely in categories. The bell curve shifts slightly to the right at a UC vs. a CSU. And it shifts off to the left a bit for a CC. The premed prereqs teach to the same MCAT, UC or CSU or CC, and you can find amazing and crappy profs at all of 'em.
 

Richardh

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my opinion is that CC is not harder than CSU. although CC students can transfer to UCs, the ones that do and I got to be friends with didn't do so well after transfer. on the otherhand, CSU students who transferred to UCs (though it is kind of hard. don't know why but thats what I've seen) have done well and at times exceled UC students. (and off topic but recently i noticed that CSU students are accepted to med schools at a higher rate than UC students but this is my opinion and perhaps another topic to be discussed).
 

mspeedwagon

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I can't speak for the CSUs as I have no taken a class at any, but their is a huge disparity between UC and CC. I've found CC science courses to be way easier than UC science courses; however, I will say that my CC professor did an excellent job at teaching the material so while it was easier to get an A, I don't feel like I learned less because of it. I'm currently in a UC Physics class (albeit through extension) where I am doing well and learning nothing (though, I've taken multiple and this is the first class where I feel this). I'm opting to take Physics II with a different professor and hoping for the best.
 

FiremedicMike

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I can't speak for the CSUs as I have no taken a class at any, but their is a huge disparity between UC and CC. I've found CC science courses to be way easier than UC science courses; however, I will say that my CC professor did an excellent job at teaching the material so while it was easier to get an A, I don't feel like I learned less because of it. I'm currently in a UC Physics class (albeit through extension) where I am doing well and learning nothing (though, I've taken multiple and this is the first class where I feel this). I'm opting to take Physics II with a different professor and hoping for the best.
This is what is the most curious to me. As I've mentioned here in the past, I'm taking a good chunk of my undergraduate work at a community college, to transfer to a business school for my bachelors, then finally a state school for my pre-reqs.. My friend continues to tell me "just wait until you get to real college, its so much harder." This led to a decent discussion where I was finally able to pin down that the material was pretty much identical, it rwally came down to smaller class sizes, lack of TA led courses, and a more condusive learning environment. Certainly this is not the case with every cc, but it would be nice if cc got a little more street cred...
 

FrkyBgStok

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i can't speak for CA but there is a huge disparity between CC classes. I took a comparative religions course at a CC that i thought would be a joke and I worked my ass off for a B and then I literally walked across campus to a business law class where I could retake the tests until i got the grade i wanted (not a similar test, the same exact test). I have also taken classes that are on par with the university ones, but it all goes back to the professors. Hopefully you guys went to better CCs.
 

Helen Wheels

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I can't speak for any schools in California but I will share my experience. I have taken science classes at a 4 year uni and at a CC. I have to say that I don't feel CC classes were much easier. I would say that there was a lot less homework. We sure had homework problems at CC but there was a lot more assigned in my 4 year uni classes. The labs at the CC were definitely more limited and basic. CC just doesn't have the resources for lots of fancy lab exercises. For the most part, I didn't feel the classes were that much easier or I learned less at the CC. One thing I really liked about CC is the small class size - no 100+ student lectures.

O Chem at CC was definitely not easy. There were people in my CC class that had failed O Chem at the local private 4 your uni (Univ of Pittsburgh) and had come to CC thinking it would be easier. They told me the class we had at CC was just as hard as O Chem at Pitt and the same material was covered. The class kicked my butt and is my only post bac "C." :(
 

zebalong

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Went to a California CC then CSU... both are about the same in terms of difficulty, but i think the CSU honestly had a lower curve. The CC i went too was a very competitive one though with lots of people linking to UC berk or la afterwards.

As a graduate of california csu's i have to say that many students there have a lower rate of accept. to medical schools - many end up having to take the DO route (nothing against osteo but just from my experience). I think it has to do with the student population that ends up at the CSU and not at the teaching. more driven people at the UCs

At my school there are tons of ivy kids, strong private and public schools including 12 UC (mostly berk and LA) and im the only CSU guy here...

At all my interviews last season I always got a blank stare when i mentioned where i went to undergrad.
 

jl lin

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Personally, regardless of the school, I think mostly it depends on the professor. Really. Bottom line, they are the "gods" of the classroom. And they have more control compared with say teaching HS in a public school system, where so much of things are dictated to the teachers.
 

Isoprop

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Went to a California CC then CSU... both are about the same in terms of difficulty, but i think the CSU honestly had a lower curve. The CC i went too was a very competitive one though with lots of people linking to UC berk or la afterwards.

As a graduate of california csu's i have to say that many students there have a lower rate of accept. to medical schools - many end up having to take the DO route (nothing against osteo but just from my experience). I think it has to do with the student population that ends up at the CSU and not at the teaching. more driven people at the UCs

At my school there are tons of ivy kids, strong private and public schools including 12 UC (mostly berk and LA) and im the only CSU guy here...

At all my interviews last season I always got a blank stare when i mentioned where i went to undergrad.
Did you go to SMC?

I went to CC's, CSU, UC's, and OOS schools (I have a long undergrad record).

There are a lot of good CC's and a lot of bad ones. There are also good CSU's and bad ones as well. It's all school specific.

I took classes at El Camino College, which is a pretty good CC, and the classes were tough as nails. I also learned A LOT. I took classes at CSUDH, and those classes were terrible. But I think Fullerton blows both out of the water in terms of teaching quality.

It's very school-specific. It probably also depends on what courses you take.
 

Nanon

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I went to CCSF, then to Berkeley, and am now attending medical school. I have to say, I thought CCSF was pretty tough, except for the physics. UC Berkeley and CCSF were equivalent in most ways, and I actually did much better at Berkeley. I think I learned more at CCSF, though.
 

zebalong

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Didn't go to SMC, went to canada, then foothill (which had a strictist grading policy) then went to SJSU (which had GREAT teachers but also low curves). In all honesty though SJSU prepared me very adequately for my MCAT and im always in the upper 50% of my class here so i don't feel like i "missed out" by not going to a UC. In my case at least, it is just what I made out of my classes. SJSU had the most awesome chem teacher and department as a whole.
 

NurWollen

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This is one of the reasons I am so glad to be rid of California. There's this whole attitude of 'CSU is for the pseudocollege for stupid people, only by going to a UC will you amount to anything.' Seriously, that is such crap. It kind of reminds me of the MD vs. DO debate. People in California act as if going to a CSU will prevent you from getting into med school. I went to a CC for a year and am now at a small private school that hardly anybody in California has even heard of. We get people into med school every year. Lots of DO schools, but also Case Western, Ohio State, St Louis University, Penn State and the like.

People need to stop caring about prestige and just work the butts off, wherever you go to undergrad.

Also, if CSU students can't get into MD schools it's only because this California attitude filters all the way up to the ADCOMs.
 

NurWollen

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By the way, this is a pretty even-tempered thread, I hope my rant didn't offend anyone. Just something I have come to feel passionate about.
I've weighed in on the university/cc debate a few times, and while I can't speak for the California system, there is something to be said for how your experience is affected by the kinds of students in your classes, how the classes are graded (curve or no) and the individual professor's lecture style, exam difficulty and grading.

My OChem class has no dummies in it. There are a couple slackers, people who just want a B for whatever reason and don't care to fight for an A. But even the slackers always come to class. Our professor started making his exams harder after the first exam grades came back because no one got lower than a B; last year the average on the same test was a 72. Almost everyone in the class intends to major in chemistry or biochemistry. I'm the exception.
I think that is interesting, because it seems that the first few chapters of O-chem, at least in my text, are naming alkanes, comparing stabilities etc. Easier stuff. It seems like the first test is always high. In my O-Chem class the average score on the first test was and 82; it dropped to a 65 on the next test.

About the CC's, in my experience they were a piece of cake compared to my four-year U. Then again, I didn't take any premed classes there. Just Spanish, Government, Eastern Religion, and World History. I never had to spend more than an hour a week on each one. Straight A's. Here, however, my grades are a different story.
 

rHinO1

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I went to a cc for two years, and then transferred to a UC. The cc served its purpose just fine... I did ok on the MCAT, was prepared for upper division classes, and I got into medical school this year. I had some cc classes I thought were harder (or as hard) as what I took at the UC. IMO, the science pre-reqs are tough no matter where you take them.
 

murfettie

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depends on professor.
I did CC throughout high school and after high school, then went to UCLA.
some of the CC kids in the honors classes are killer though. THey all ended up at Cal or UCLA and lead pretty fancy lives now.
 
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In general, it depends on the professor. However, a majority of the time CC should be a lot easier than CSU's and UC's. If someone did well in CC and then CSU/UC, then I would attribute it to the student being smart and hardworking not because CC prepared them for it.

I have a friend who graduated from UC Davis and got C's throughout AnP. Took it again in CC and scored 100%+ (extra credit) throughout the entire series. Yes he took it again for the second time which probably helped in a way. However if he retakes the same series again at Davis, will he get the same grades as he did in CC? "Will probably get straight C's again" is what he said.
 

ILikeDrugs

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Hey, I did 60 units of CC work then transferred to a CSU, did 60 units in psych and other work, graduated, and am now completely pre-reqs at CCs. I have attended 5 different CCs and I can tell you that I can't tell the difference between the difficulties in CC and CSU. I have taken CC courses that were more rigorous than CSU courses that were similar and visa versa. You can interpret this however you want. Either the CCs are as rigorous as CSU or the CSU isn't as rigorous as it should be. I've had excellent and crap teachers at both systems as well. My general chem teacher was notoriously difficult. Much more difficult than the general chem at CSU. A lot of CC teachers take their work seriously and make it their mission to prepare students who wish to go on to the university. Also, a lot of CC professors are doctors in their field who have matured out of research, want to work full time, but don't want to be bogged down with the research that a uni would require of them. So, the myth that CCs are full of MAs who make the classes easier is a myth to me. Also, the idea that MAs make the classes easier or aren't great teachers is a myth to me. I've had really great and challenging professors who were MAs. Like others have said before me, how challenging a class is depends on the professor. I really enjoyed the small time feel of the CC and challenging courses of a CC, and I would do it all over again.