Photo Courtesy of Rancho Santiago Community College District (rsccd.edu)
As society progresses into a new era so heavily fixated upon the normal idea of “success,” it is easily forgotten that there are other ways to survive, strive, and thrive in the journey of life. This is especially true when it comes to post-secondary education. It seems as if an abundance of educators believe that their primary purpose in this world is to mold the minds of each and every one of their high schoolers into students who are immediately ready for a four-year university right after graduation. However, this is not the case. Not every high school student is ready for a four-year university right after graduation.
Even if society does not say it directly, a negative stigma is placed upon those students who choose to attend a junior college. This in turn leads to a feeling of failure, which can spark an attitude of a lack of motivation within these students. Time and time again, students use the excuse, “Why try in high school if I am just going to community college?” Perhaps if the education system in America realized the academic, economic, and emotional benefits of attending a community college, some light would be shed upon this epidemic.
Without a doubt, attending a community college has academic benefits for all types of students. For students who struggled in high school, they have a second chance to “re-learn” their work ethics and study habits. Doing so before entering a four-year university prevents these students from being left behind and, often times, dropping out altogether. For students who succeeded in high school, they have a second chance to graduate from their dream college. With prominent universities becoming harder and harder to be accepted into, going to community college for two years and then transferring to a four-year university is often easier and more reasonable to do. Kevin Gomez (11) explained that, “If a student has his/her heart set on UCLA, for example, but does not get it, if they work hard in community college, they still have the chance to graduate from their dream college. And that chance is now much more probable.”
Moreover, attending a community college has economic benefits as well. With colleges becoming more and more exclusive comes the idea that they save their scholarship money for the select. Reasonably, it is extremely difficult for the majority of students to not only receive scholarship money, but also receive it from an acclaimed university. For many students, the thought of having to pay off student debt after college graduation seems dreadful. Therefore, starting off at a community college is the perfect chance to save money, as it is a much more cost-efficient option.
Unequivocally, attending a community college also has emotional benefits. In today’s day in age, people preach that having good mental health is the most important aspect of life. But do people actually practice what they preach? If they did, then they would promote the community college route to students who are not emotionally dependent enough or emotionally mature enough to make the leap from high school to a four-year university.
It is easy to forget that not everyone is in the same place at the same time, whether that be academically, economically, or emotionally. So put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “What would I do?” Community college is the answer to many people’s dilemmas.