Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Today I have the chance to talk about a resource that rarely receives the attention and respect it deserves: Community college.  Now, there are a myriad of myths and jokes about community college, but in reality community college might just be one of the greatest aids for students.

For those who are unaware, a community college is typically a 2-year institution (some last as long as 4 years) that has a much larger acceptance rate than many of the standard 4-year institutions.  Community colleges can grant students with an Associate’s Degree, which is equivalent to essentially finishing two years at a university.

However, there is another thing that community colleges offer.  Some school have agreements with 4-year universities that guarantee transfer acceptance for their students if they meet the GPA requirements. This is AWESOME! Not only do you get to attend the school of your dreams, but also you get to build up your GPA, save money, and learn valuable study skills and gain new experiences that will benefit you when you transfer.  On top of successfully transferring, many 4-year institutions will accept the credits from the classes taken at the community college essentially allowing you to become an academic and social junior.

Community colleges are significantly cheaper than their 4-year counterparts.  Many students who choose to go there often do it to save up for future colleges. However, there is an academic advantage as well. If a student did not perform as well in high school to get into the university of their dreams, what could they do?  They could opt to attend community college and get their grades up while saving money and then have guaranteed acceptance to a 4-year school.  Often times people assume that since community colleges are inherently cheaper than 4-year universities, the education is not high quality. However, many community colleges offer honors programs with a smaller teacher to student ratio than is typically found in 4-year universities. With that said, not only are you paying less, you are still getting a quality education with more support and focus from a professor than being in a massive lecture class where often times you are treated as just a number.

There are myths and jokes spread about community colleges that need to be addressed.

1. Community college is for stupid people.

False. Community colleges serve as a center where many people can further their knowledge. Many of the students, while there, learn valuable study skills and gain real world experience. These new study tactics often lead to them rising to the top of their class should they choose to transfer to a 4-year institution.

2. A degree from a community college is useless.

False. An associate’s degree may not carry the same weight as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but it is still highly desired for many jobs. Many employers are looking for technicians with skills that they have learned at a community college.

13 Community colleges have low academic standards.

False. Even though many community colleges offer open admission to foster diversity among the campus, the classes are anything but easy. Often times, students have to take placement tests to even be allowed to take college level courses.

Community college may not be the best option for everyone, but for some it’s a massive benefit.  Not only do you save money, but there’s the possibility of transferring credits, raising your GPA, learning valuable study skills, and becoming a desirable candidate in the work force.  Many people have too much pride and often overlook community college, but don’t let your pride get in the way of your success. Community college has a lot to offer, and if the need arises or you just want to take summer classes, a community college will be your best option.

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the author

Carlton Smith is a junior at the College of William and Mary currently majoring in Government. He loves to sing and dance and is involved with one of his school's A Cappella groups known as DoubleTake. He has served as the Class of 2015's Vice President for the past three years.

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