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The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

What College is Right for You?

Joseph E. Rivera
Chabot College.

Postsecondary choices are countless, paths are infinite, and errors are inevitable. Hurdles such as cost, debt, housing, and emotional transitions are what most must overcome when considering life after school, and oftentimes, they can be intimidating. Some students after they graduate join the workforce while others decide to continue their education. In the short term costs the monetary benefits are substantial. For those who decide postsecondary education is the right path for them, two options are often at their disposal: community college and four-year college.

Community colleges, or junior colleges, have been around for a while with the first official one dating back to the very beginning of the twentieth century. Junior colleges catch the eye of many due to the qualities not shared with a four year institution. While some may deem these schools as less prestigious than a four year university, affordability is a very redeeming quality as they are significantly less expensive than four year universities. An- other redeeming quality is the gift of a second chance. Often- times high school doesn’t work out the way you intend, social pressures can prove effective, or life simply can get in the way. Community colleges give you the opportunity to pick yourself up and pave a path of success for yourself, becoming a segue towards a four year institution. In fact, one of our own admired teachers, Mr. Navas attended a community college before transferring into a four year. When asked about his experience with community college and what it offered him, he had this to say: “It was cheaper and it gave me the time to fail a little bit […] so it gave me that space I don’t think a four year would give you, that time to learn to fail.” Would you change your decision knowing what you know now? “No I wouldn’t, I needed to learn to be a better student for sure.”

Four year universities often appear to be the more prestigious choice, especially when you have all the options such as the UCs, the Ivy Leagues, etc. But it really depends on what future you see for yourself. There is really no reason to go to Harvard if you want to be a teacher. Universities almost al- ways cost more and are harder to get into. However, there are definitely some reasons to go straight into a four year. The experience of living on your own, separate from whatever drama follows you around, is a real benefit many strive for. In many schools the dorm life is reserved for the first and second year students, meaning if you were to spend your first two years at a Community College, there’s a possibility of missing out on that experience. School spirit, social events, extracurricular activities, are all experiences you will enjoy taking the university route.

At the end of the day, the path that is best for you is the right path. Second-chance opportunities coupled with afford- ability is what the community college route has to offer, as well as acting as a segue into a four year institution. However, the university route offers the chance to experience the full four years of school spirit, social scenes, dorm life, at a higher cost financially. Both paths, if done right, can ultimately end up at the same job, so choose based on what speaks to you. The great thing is there is more than one way to get where you are going, enjoy it.

Fun facts:

  • 68% of California community college students are from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
  • 51% of CSU Graduates and 29% of UC Graduates started at a California community college.
  • On average you earn 1.6 million and 2.4 million respectively for an AA and BA over a lifetime.
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