Your Mind

Attending Community College Does Not Make You A Failure

By January 17, 2016 0

Hey, High Schoolers,

Unless your parents are rich or you have a scholarship, go to a Community College after High School. I remember the pressure I felt in High School to attend an actual University. I remember every adult and classmate constantly asking “where are you going next year.” Teachers would forwardly mock us, that if we didn’t focus we would end up in the local Community College with the rest of the lazy students. They often called it “Grade 13” and made it seem like the purgatory of higher education.

It is very common for us Millennials to be the first person in a family to attend college, which means our parents don’t have the best insight of what college is truly like. They can be more concerned about bragging rights at the next Thanksgiving, and want to throw in your Aunt’s face that you are attending a “real College”.

Often, I have teenagers ask me for advice and help with selecting a college. The first thing I ask them is “how are you going to pay for school and expenses.”

If there answer is “I’ll get a local job,” or “financial aid” I immediately pump the breaks and begin my sermon.

Help Me I’m Poor

Having children is expensive, especially if you intend to raise them with the intention of them receiving a higher education. I am the youngest of four, and in comparison to what my older siblings received when they were in college, I got next to nothing. Governmental financial aid is based on your parents salary. On paper, if my parents only had me, they could have easily paid for my school. But the government doesn’t factor in three other parasites liquidating their accounts for expenses. So, hello Auntie Sallie Mae.

I went to a state college. I was able to commute from home my Junior, Senior, Super Senior, and Super-Duper Senior Years. This means costs were reduced to about only $6,000 a semester, and still I am in debt! Monthly, I pay about $550.00 for my private loans and still owe about $20,000. According to a government data analysis by financial aid experts at Edvisors, the class of 2014 graduated with an average student loan debt of $33,000.

Signing for a private loan at 17 should be a crime. These loans are a binding contract, that means these people can take away your tax refunds if needed. I had no idea what interest was, or understood how I would be paying double than the amount that I actually borrowed. Student loans grow, and if you decide to just not pay them, then say goodbye to your credit.

If you plan on going to a college more than three hours from home you must also factor in additional expenses. Living away from home means you now have to pay for soap,  toilet paper, toothpaste, sanitary products, and detergents. If you parents are struggling with day to day expenses than perhaps its best to take two years to save accordingly.

The Real Freshman Year

Freshman year of college is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Hollywood somehow made it appear to be a right of passage, where you leave your small town life, to travel across the country, and attend your dream college. You finally stop being the nerd you were in High School, pledge a sorority, and attend hundreds of parties while still maintaing your 3.8 GPA, graduating on time with many job offers. Truth is, Freshman can actually be the most stressful in your college career.

According to College Atlas:

  • 30 percent of freshman students do not return for their sophomore year.
  • 60 percent of dropouts had no help from parents in paying for tuition.
  • Being unable to balance school, jobs, and family is one of the top reasons for dropping out.

In my opinion, trusting that your 17/18 year-old can handle living thousands of miles away from home while being a responsible adult is INSANE. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015–2016 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. That means you’re trusting a teenager to be responsible for an average $21,902. Just how you wouldn’t trust your teenager with a new car, you shouldn’t trust them with such an expensive education

 Just how you wouldn’t trust your teenager with a new car, you shouldn’t trust them with such an expensive education.

Not many teenagers know exactly what career path they want to take. In fact, about 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career. Going to a community college avoids many of the problems above. Those 1 to 2 years can give you the flexibility to decide what carer path you would like to take, while saving you thousands of dollars in the process.

Take it from me, the University requirements needed to graduate at most Colleges is your basic High School classes. The first two years of college felt like a recap of my High School education. Attending a Community College, gives you more time to mature and make adult decisions, so when you take that journey across the country, you are going as someone with more maturity and determination.

This is Not a Race

Yes, some Universities don’t accept all of your credits from your Community College, thus meaning you may have to take an additional year or semester to receive your bachelor’s degree, but I ask you; why are you rushing to finish school?

According to the U.S. Department of Education 2009 study, the average time to get a bachelor’s degree was six years and four months. This achievement is not a race. I have friends who are 25 and still are working to receive their undergraduate diploma. Every person should go at their own pace. Their isn’t a magic finish line that hands out first and second place medals.

Completing your education is important, I encourage everyone to do so. But be sure that you save money, be mentally prepared, and never compare yourself to others. Please parents and students alike, take attending a Community College in serious consideration.