From aspirations to success: The community college graduates' experiences

Beatrice Y. Y. DANG, Hei Hang Hayes TANG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


In response to highly competitive admission to local public-funded universities, the Hong Kong SAR government initiated the associate degree programs as a policy innovation in 2000. Highlighting more democratic access to higher education, admission to community colleges is less stringent than admission to the local degree programmes. It purposes to offer alternative route and second chance for Hong Kong secondary school graduates who missed the opportunity admitting to a Hong Kong public university. This paper borrows liberally the ideas surrounding the ‘cooling-out' function of higher education by the late Burton R. Clark (1960, 1980) and examines the role of community college in elucidating educational disadvantages.

Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with community college graduates to probe their college experiences and level of their educational desire before and after entering the community college. Student stories led to the development of the four major themes of this study: 1) formative assessment conducive to a second chance for university admission; 2) self-discoveries of academic capabilities and ‘warming-up' educational desire; 3) liberal teacher-student learning interactions and learner autonomy; and 4) effective career guidance for strategic preparations for university admission. The findings of this study suggested that the community college enhances the social justice goal of higher education including equity of educational opportunities and inclusive participation in higher education. This study has also substantiated the value of community college in the Hong Kong's post-secondary education sector. Copyright © 2018 FSTE Conference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


Dang, B. Y. Y., & Tang, H.-H. H. (2018, June). From aspirations to success: The community college graduates' experiences. Paper presented at the FSTE Conference 2018: Striving for Quality Education, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China.


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