Our Take: Community colleges are cool, too


photo by COED.com

The nearest community college is Seminole State College. It now offers four-year degrees in certain areas of study.

Picture this: you are a high school senior, someone asks you what your plans are after graduation; you intend on going to the local community college, but cannot say because you fear that they will judge you for your future plans.

That should not be the case. The days of looking down upon community colleges are over. More and more community colleges are transitioning into places that can offer students the “college experience” while still receiving a prestigious degree.

The two most common reasons that students enroll at community colleges are finances and academics.  USnews states that in-state tuition at community colleges are about $1000 in contrast to the tens of thousands of dollars at a four-year institution. This is a more affordable option for students who want to save money and avoid debt after they graduate.

Academically, community colleges are a much better option for those who may have struggled during their high school years. They offer smaller class sizes of about 30 students and because of this, professors can pay much more attention to students and offer them the help they need. Institutions like Seminole State College provide free tutoring centers for students to visit for any subject that they may be having trouble with.

Students who have a job or other commitments that may interfere with their schooling could come to find that attending college part time would be the best choice for them. Scholarships.com writes that community colleges typically offer more night classes and schedule options and often have a lighter workload. Being that these schools are more accommodating, it becomes easier to get an education while still taking part in their everyday responsibilities.

Attending a community college would also allow for more wiggle room to choose a major since the fees for changing majors are much less in comparison to four-year universities. This is particularly a benefit to those who are unsure of what they would like to pursue as a career.

The negative stereotype that community colleges are only for “underachievers” needs to stop. Most two-year institutions have transitioned into four-year institutions, and they are creating more transfer programs for students who wanted to save money and get a taste of their desired degree before diving into it at a university.

According to insidehighered.com, a large number of students enrolled into the University of Central Florida from Valencia College last year; more specifically, 4,000 students transferred over to UCF from Valencia last year. Joyce Romano, Valencia’s vice president for educational partnerships, believes the college plays a major part in helping students pursue their desired career while guiding them to four-year institutions.

Aside from the transfer options, some community colleges are also opening up housing for students to give them the closest thing to a “college experience.” They also have multiple clubs like Student Government as well as the opportunity to create their own club which would help students get associated with others.

For some people attending a community college may be the route that is necessary for them, but for others, they may thrive more at a four-year school. However, community colleges lead students to their desired destination in an affordable and achievable manner. With qualified professors and prestigious degrees, alumni can still come out of these schools with little to any debt and job opportunities ahead of them.