“…they are seeing college as just a means to a job and not a means of education.” ~ Cora Daniels, Impolite Conversations
Having an education is important in any endeavor you choose. To me, there are 3 main types of education: school-based, home schooled (or web-based), and independent studies (self-taught). Obviously going to school is the most traditional and accepted but why do we treat it like it’s the only proper form?
I mainly want to talk about apost-high school education. When I graduated high school, I went straight to community college. I had no idea what I wanted to do or what I wanted to major in. I went to the Santa Monica Community College for maybe a week or two until I decided to leave. Fast forward, I enrolled in Tri-C with online courses. That was probably the worst decision because I am much better off in a classroom. I did the online courses for about a week.
Disclaimer: I really love learning and enjoy school very much (minus the douche bag students).
College isn’t for everybody…or at least community college isn’t. In the book, Impolite Conversations, Cora Daniels compared going to community college vs. going to a 4-year university. “…the two-year degree is the gateway to debt and false dreams…64% of students attend community colleges part-time, making it impossible…to finish the degree on time.” This puts things in perspective. Are associates degrees even worth it?
Cora Daniels also stated that, “few graduates successfully go on to four-year programs because the credits are often incompatible and ineligible to transfer.”So, it seems like that community college experience was all for nothing. A lot of people rush right in to these schools to gain some credits until they figure out what they want or where they’d like to go from there.
Though these things may be true, for someone like my mother it is not. If it weren’t for community college she would not have been able to follow her dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner. She did a year at Tri-C for her prerequisites to get into Case Western Reserve. So, community college can actually be a blessing for some.
Here’s her testimony:
“Community colleges have unjustly gotten a bad rap. If you take time to research and chose correctly, community college can actually be a great starting point for many reasons. For me, it provided an amazing foundation as I worked to complete the required prerequisite courses toward my bachelor’s degree. The cost was low enough that I paid out of pocket for most of it. Tutorial services for various subjects including English, math, and the sciences were phenomenal.
Utilization of such services made the difference for me yielding higher grades and greater retention of concepts every step of the way. Did I mention these services were free! FREE! The availability of day, evening or weekend options made life easier as well. I was a non-traditional student in every sense of the word. I had to juggle a bit but was able to make it all work.
Community colleges also have an array of opportunities from 2-year degrees, to certifications, and professional development. Before you snooze on or shun community college do your homework. It may be your diamond in the rough.”
If you love learning and want a degree, great! Just have a plan. Don’t run into any college thinking that everything will just transfer over and be fine. Going to community college isn’t just something you should do at a whim. It takes proper planning. Where do you want to go from there? What college do you want to go to afterwards? What classes would you like to take? How long do you want to be there?
Figure out what you want in detail! I said it before and I’m saying it again. You should be doing this in every aspect of your life. I’m not saying your whole life needs to be planned; spontaneity is beautiful. You’ll never know all of what you want. But have a solid foundation so you won’t find yourself lost or miserable.
I can’t wait for the day when community college is free! It may be a ways away but I’ll be ecstatic nonetheless. The rates for these institutions are steadily dropping. Only 39% of students graduate within 6 years! Enrollment dropped by 3.5% since Fall 2014! Last year, The Hechinger Report interviewed Thomas Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center. He spoke on the current problems with these colleges and ways they can improve. I encourage all of you to take the time to read this: http://hechingerreport.org/new-book-addresses-low-community-college-graduation-rates/