Most high school students have big dreams of life post-graduation when they will transition to college. They look forward to moving away from home, gaining independence, meeting new people, and exploring various academic and social opportunities. If you just browse YouTube and you will find thousands of videos of anxious teenagers excitedly opening their acceptance letters with proud friends and family joining in on the celebration.
Community college tends to be a last choice over more traditional four-year schools because they are commuter schools and they accept anyone who applies, leaving no need for a jumping-up-and-down, confetti-filled, YouTube-worthy moment. Aside from this, there are many other misconceptions about community colleges that mistakenly lead high schoolers to not take them into consideration. The community college stigma (#CCStigma) has been unfairly around for far too long.
Check out why an education at a community college is extremely beneficial and should not be overlooked.
1. Only students with poor high school grades attend
While community colleges don’t have rigorous academic requirements that you might find in an ivy league college, they do require students to complete academic testing to help place them at the correct class levels. Some high performers choose to attend community college because it provides a cheaper alternative and offers flexibility to fit into their lifestyle. Finally, some community colleges also have nationally recognized honors programs that require stringent demands of their members. So no, you can be “smart” and still attend community college.
2. Campus life is less fun
Yes, community colleges will have less tailgates, keggers, and frat parties but that doesn’t mean they are not fun at all. To keep students and community members engaged, community colleges offer numerous clubs and activities, and host an array of local events each year. You can find clubs and events for sports, arts & culture, recreational interests, and more. As a commuter school, many students want to have a sense of belonging and are open and committed to forming close relationships with their peers.
3. Since it’s already cheaper, there is no financial aid available
A major misconception about community college is that they have no tuition discounts. In fact, community colleges still have ways to save, despite being more financially beneficial to attend already. It wouldn’t be unheard of for a community college to offer hundreds of scholarships opportunities a year to their students.
4. Professors aren’t as educated
Many community college professors also work as consultants, writers, artists, or are employed in high-level positions at major corporations. Additionally, some professors at community colleges are PhD educated and also teach at four-year colleges at the same time.
5. Transferring to a four-year school will be too complicated
The transfer process can be a little overwhelming, but community colleges are super experienced when it comes to this process. Once your two years are complete, you will have numerous options to finish your bachelor’s degree at surrounding four-year schools. Community colleges host transfer fair regularly and have contractual agreements, and positive relationships, with other schools who want you to make your next move to their institution.
6. Students are not prepared for a more difficult four-year school
Studies show that 75% of students who transfer to four-year colleges graduate versus 73% who enrolled directly out of high school, and 61% who transferred from another four-year college. As stated, many professors of four-year schools also teach at community colleges so the academic expectations are not far from each other.
The #CCStigma is real. More students and parents should understand that these myths are just that, myths. Community colleges provide not only financial benefits, but academic and social ones as well. Before knocking them, visit an open house or speak to an admissions counselor about why they might be a good fit for you.