Safety: Parkland cops have guns. You will be safe attending school and commuting to and from here.
Living: The majority of property theft and homicides occur in the housing south and east of Parkland's campus (off-campus, as their is no on campus housing). Find housing on U of I's campus and commute: it is worth your gas.
Academics: Read the fine print of the academic program you are taking. Then talk to a counselor at the four-year university you are trying to transfer into. Parkland's academic counselors, although friendly, are not knowledgeable about what courses will transfer to other Universities- this is your responsibility and is where you will most likely (like me) get screwed. Focus on your per-requisites here as your upper-division courses will most likely NOT transfer. Courses are straight forward and I never took one that required an excess amount of work- as this is a community college and the demographics don't allow the school to waste ppl's time.Social Atmosphere: There is none here. People are approachable in class but no one goes out partying with each other on the weekends unless they came here from high school together. That's why you should be living on U of I's campus as close as possible to Green Street. Keep in mind their are a lot of north shore (of Chicago) suburban kids at U of I so keep an open mind and a 'don't give a fuck attitude' and just keep being persistently outgoing. It'll help a lot if you live with someone going to U of I. From my understanding, Parkland does a lot for their students than most community colleges in terms of events- but the student body here is comprised of a lot of students who are working full time, have kids already, or are older and returning to college in their 30s+... kind of like a true community college (sarcasm intended).