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The Community College Career Track: How to Achieve the American Dream without a Mountain of Debt

ISBN: 978-1-118-27169-8
240 pages
September 2012
The Community College Career Track: How to Achieve the American Dream without a Mountain of Debt (1118271696) cover image
Get a good education without massive debt, and enter a field that's actually hiring

In coming years, millions of great jobs will be opening up in growth areas like advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, health care, information technology, and sustainable energy. These jobs can pay as well as, or much better than, the average income for four-year college graduates. They generally offer high levels of day-to-day satisfaction. And the path to all of them begins in the community colleges. In The Community College Career Track, Tom Snyder gives young people and their parents, as well as mid-life career changers, a practical, inspiring guide to taking that path and completing it successfully.

The old model of a bachelor's degree leading to a good job and career has broken down for large numbers of young people, many of whom graduate college only to work in a career that doesn't require a degree. Meanwhile, millions of productive American white collar and blue-collar workers have been laid off and need retraining for second careers. This book helps you find a new way forward.

  • Offers insights on how to save money over a lifetime through an affordable college education that provides high-paying jobs
  • Author Tom Snyder is the president of Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana's statewide community college system and the largest singly accredited community college system in the country

Author Tom Snyder has confronted the education-jobs mismatch from both sides, first as a highly successful business executive and now as an award-winning educator. Follow his efficient, affordable, and rewarding path to a great career and a satisfying life.

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I The Best Higher Education Value in America 1

1 Why Community College Is the Smart Choice for Almost Every Student 3

2 Affordable for All: Paying for Community College and Lowering Your Total Higher Education Costs 7

3 Scholarships and Financial Aid 17

4 It’s Not Where You Study, It’s What You Study: Why Everyone Should Consider a STEM-Related or Health CareRelated Career, and Why Community College Is the Best Place to Start 29

II Great Community College Options—and You Can Choose More Than One 47

5 The Smart Start to a Bachelor’s Degree: How to Use Community College as a Stepping-Stone to a Bachelor’s Degree 49

6 Two-Year Degrees and One-Year Professional Certificates: Gateway Credentials to Great Jobs and Careers 69

7 On Campus or Online? 81

III Getting Ready for Community College 95

8 What You Should Do to Prepare for College-Level Work if You Are Now in High School 97

9 What You Should Do to Prepare for College-Level Work if You’re Going to Community College as a Career Changer 109

10 The Placement Tests That Determine Where You Start in College 121

IV How to Succeed in Community College 135

11 If You’re Going to Community College Directly from High School as a Full-Time Student 137

12 If You’re Going to Community College as a Career Changer: Juggling Classes, Homework, Your Job, and the Rest of Your Life 145

Conclusion 159

Appendix: The Higher Education America Needs: Win-Win Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Employers 161

Appendix: Additional Resources 175

Appendix: ACCUPLACERs Sample Test 183

Notes 213

Acknowledgments 217

Index 221

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THOMAS J. SNYDER is the President of Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana's statewide community college system and the largest singly accredited community college system in the country. While he was CEO of Delco Remy International, the company grew from $500 million to $1.3 billion in global sales. He has confronted the education-jobs mismatch from both sides, first as a highly successful business executive and now as an award-winning educator.

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September 10, 2012
Get a Good Education Minus the Debt and Enter a Field That's Hiring

In coming years, millions of great jobs will be opening up in growth areas like advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, health care, information technology, and sustainable energy. These jobs can pay as well as, or much better than, the average for four-year liberal arts graduates—and offer high levels of career satisfaction. And believe it or not, the path to all of them begins in community college. In The Community College Career Track, Thomas Snyder gives students and midlife career changers a practical guide to taking that path and completing it successfully. Readers will learn:

  • Why everyone should consider a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), or health care related career
  • How to use community college as the smart start to a bachelor's degree
  • Great, lucrative careers that only require two-year degrees or one-year professional certificates
  • How to prepare for college level work whether in high school or changing careers
  • How to thrive in a community college

Throughout his career, Thomas Snyder has focused his work on leading organizations, inspiring others to achieve their goals, and helping communities reach their economic potential. Today, as president of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Thomas is recognized as a national expert on community colleges and a leading advocate for college affordability. 

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