METTEN: Don’t discredit community college

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METTEN: Don’t discredit community college

(RILEIGH SHULL / EYE OF THE TIGER)

(RILEIGH SHULL / EYE OF THE TIGER)

(RILEIGH SHULL / EYE OF THE TIGER)

(RILEIGH SHULL / EYE OF THE TIGER)

RYLEY METTEN

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Being a senior this year, there are many things to think about regarding where I should take my life after graduating in the near future. My time here, as well as many other students’ entire experience in high school is in obvious preparation for attending a four-year college after high school.

However, one thing I just can’t overlook is the fear of the looming and obnoxious student debt.

Student debt affects many of those who usually attend a four-year college after high school. However, there is an option that is somewhat looked down upon when deciding on where you want to continue your education after high school: community college. 

There are many, many pros to attending community college after high school. For instance, if you attend a community college after high school, you are avoiding student debt and won’t be loaded with the added stress of when or how you are going to pay that off.

 In addition, many people could be using money they would have spent on a four-year college towards other aspects of their life that are actually rewarding to them. This would avoid having financial stress and promote spending  hard earned money towards something that they are proud of, rather than allocating money towards student debt. 

 Another pro that is somewhat ignored about community college is that it is an easier way to finish general education classes. Statistically, many students drop out of a four year college within the first two years which is before they can even start taking classes that pertain to the major they want.  

In fact, 70% of Americans will study at a 4-year college, but fewer than two-thirds of those will graduate with a degree. Additionally, 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year of college.  

Community college is an obvious solution to this issue –  students have more time to decide what they want to do and community colleges are significantly are more forgiving if an individual  decides they want to change their major. This is a major benefit of attending a community college as instead of wasting a tremendous amount of money changing a major in a big four-year university, community colleges allow a more forgiving environment for those who are indecisive.

 Even if someone does get accepted to a four-year, it still doesn’t mean they have to attend it. Pressure to attend a four-year can often cause people to attend four-year colleges when they are not ready. Community college can be a great alternative as well as a great way to find yourself or what interests you in taking classes that were not offered in high school. It’s where many people learn to grow as individuals. Not only that, but student debt? Not a problem. 

 Personally, I have been trying to decide whether I want to attend a four-year or community college after high school. In the process of coming to a decision, I have found myself confronting many biases that arise with wanting to go to community college after high school – including the implication  that if you go to a community college, you won’t become very successful, or that you were never smart enough to get into a four year college. In reality, attending a community college after high school is actually a great plan and can help many people out in the long run.

 Although community college is talked about as a post-graduation option, it is not really addressed in a positive manner. I have often heard community college talked about as a last resort in some cases.

There is a huge stigma around community college, often deemed as if you don’t go to a four-year college right after high school you are viewed as “lesser than,” when it is really just about finding your own path and choosing the fit that is best for you and your circumstances at the moment.

For myself and many others, we aren’t exactly sure what we want to major in and we find ourselves in a bit of a standstill. Especially when all these years have been focused on getting good grades in order to get into a UC or CSU. However, what happens when we actually get accepted to say UC Santa Cruz or Cal State Long Beach and we don’t know what we want to major in? The stakes are much higher when it comes to indecisiveness at a four-year college. At a community college, changing your major is much simpler and doesn’t impact you very much. It is easier to change your classes around to fit your major as well.

Attending a community college to get your associates and then continuing on to a four-year to get your bachelors or masters degree is a great choice.It’s a terrible idea to continue to depict community college as a lesser option for students. In promoting the attendance of four-year universities immediately after high school, some students are to be forced on a path that they struggle to thrive in based on a social stigma. In reality, going to a community after high school is a smarter choice after high school in general and ends up providing much more benefits than losses.