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The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

Why the Community College System in California is Underrated

Incredibly, there are 115 community colleges in California.

Community College (CC) is often unfairly stigmatized as a second-rate choice for post-high school education, with attendees sometimes subject to unjustified stereotypes of being lazy, unintelligent, or lacking ambition. In reality, CC can be considered a hidden treasure and can provide an education just as good as undergraduate universities and serve as a valuable stepping stone towards achieving greater academic aspirations.

In my view, the University of California (UC) system represents one of the best undergraduate approaches within our education system. The ability to transfer seamlessly to any UC institution from any community college in California through programs like UC TAP/UCLA TAP (Transfer Alliance Program) is incredible and goes to show how really everyone has the resources and opportunities necessary for a good undergraduate education. What’s even more impressive is the opportunity to start earning college credits in high school through dual enrollment, thereby reducing the time needed to fulfill TAP requirements to just one year or possibly even a single semester. Moreover, TAP ensures a guaranteed spot at any UC, with even greater certainty for those in the honors program.

This system in particular is perfect for students who may have faced challenges in high school, whether it be having had an academic setback or a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you aspire to attend a prestigious university despite these obstacles, CC provides a great opportunity to enhance your application and boost your GPA. After one or two years of dedicated effort, you’ll be well-prepared to pursue your dream school. Additionally, you can apply as a freshman or transfer student to any university, not limited to just UCs, although credit transferability would of course need to be researched in advance.

Beyond the benefits of TAP, CC offers a compelling option if you’re not yet prepared to leave home. In my view, the emotional challenges of moving away from home are often underestimated, especially in a culture where independence is expected to develop suddenly. In contrast, many other countries embrace multigenerational households, and European students commonly take gap years to ease into adulthood before leaving home. This approach may help explain phenomena like the “Freshman 15,” which results from the overwhelming stress of sudden independence. The initial one or two years of college are often described as depressing, which is largely exacerbated by the abrupt transition forced upon young adults.

Moreover, CC is cost-effective. If you’re uncertain about your academic path, consider enrolling in a few courses at your local CC to explore your interests. You’ll be gaining valuable knowledge while giving yourself the time and space to discover your true passions.

Those who shame individuals for choosing CC are likely not educated about CC and, in some cases, may have slightly elitist attitudes. They may not comprehend certain financial constraints faced by some families or the preference of some students to avoid investing thousands of dollars in a university experience that doesn’t align with their interests or aspirations. If you’re contemplating CC and feeling insecure about your decision, please don’t be. You are making a wise choice that will ultimately save you considerable stress and lead to a happier, healthier adulthood.

CC is an excellent path to take if you’re uncertain about your future or are not ready to be far from home. As Anjani Bodar (12) shares,

“California’s community colleges are a hidden gem of our educational system. They offer affordable access to education, diverse programs, and a pathway to success for countless students.”

— Anjani Bodar

Taking time to discover yourself doesn’t equate to being slow or lacking ambition. It demonstrates a thoughtful and mature approach to your educational journey. Embrace it.

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About the Contributor
Arya Banerjee
Arya Banerjee, Editor
Arya Banerjee is a senior at Yorba Linda High School and is excited to be an editor for The Wrangler this year. As she enters her third year in the newspaper program, she is looking forward to launching fundraiser inivitaives for the program as well as improving her writing skills. This year will also be Arya’s 4th year on the track team and third year as co-president of the South Asian Cultural Association on campus. In her free time, she enjoys reading historical fiction, playing piano, and hanging out with friends. Arya is excited to be back and looks forward to an abundant year writing for The Wrangler.

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  • R

    Rishika PuriOct 26, 2023 at 7:31 AM

    Community College really is overlooked by many, I hate how if you attend one you’re seen as “not smart enough.” But even I used to have that opinion. This article covered a lot I didn’t know about CC, it really is beneficial and this article highlights that perfectly.

  • G

    Giana V MejiaOct 26, 2023 at 7:23 AM

    This is so true!! Everyone always hates on going to a cc, but it can actually be very beneficial.