We learn on the same playing field

Although four-year schools get all the media hype, many high school graduates head right into a two-year institution.

People often think that students go to a community college because a four-year school did not accept them or they aren’t driven to succeed. This is wrong.

A year or two in community college may be necessary for students to improve their grades and adjust to a collegiate lifestyle.

The academic education is as equally challenging as four-year schools, despite long standing stigmas.

Community college courses aren’t just watered down versions of the ones taught at a four-year school.

Let’s get this straight, the classes are nearly identical and often community college faculty members also hold teaching positions at four-year colleges.

Statistics from March 2015 on www.insidehighered.com show that 65 percent of students that graduate with a 4-year degree from a university have been enrolled for at least three semesters at a community college.

Without community colleges, many students would not be able to access the education they need to be prepared for further education or the workplace.

According to the Community College Review, community college enrollment is increasing at schools across the country, while four-year institutions have seen a small drop in student population within the past year.

In addition, survey results indicate that students at community colleges tend to receive direct feedback from professors at a much higher rate than students attending four-year institutions. This may be due to the sometimes large class sizes at four-year institutions.

Since research programs are not typically conducted at community colleges, more emphasis is placed on classroom instruction, and many professors at community colleges utilize methods that focus on teaching rather than research, providing a better learning environment and experience for students.

Community colleges also offer students the chance to start their careers sooner with less debt.

Based on 2015-2016 school year, American Association of Community Colleges has indicated that tuition and fees at public four-year colleges were nearly three times that of community colleges. Community college average tuition was $3,347, while the tuition of four-year colleges averaged $9,139.

The aversion to debt causes students to work excessively and only be able to maintain part-time enrollment, according to the College Board’s Trends in Higher Education Series.

In addition to the financial advantage, community college is not only a place to knock out your general education courses but also an arena to explore other interests.

Personally, I am so tired of society assuming that those who attend four-year schools are better than those who attend community college.

Since the first day I started Citrus College, I couldn’t wait to transfer, for all the wrong reasons.

For one, I wanted people to see me as a “highly educated” student that attends a well-known four-year school.

We are taking the exact same courses, pursuing the same degrees, all while undergoing life’s obstacles.

Society has set a timer on when we should finish our degree, when every student undergoes their own struggles and challenges leaving them to attend school at their own pace, which is absolutely OK.

In my own experience, I found that Citrus College was a great place for me to figure out what major I wanted to pursue and where I would eventually obtain my degree.

Having met some of the most amazing professors and students, community college has helped me not only obtain an education, but it has offered me great experiences in my chosen field and has helped me grow as a person.

If it wasn’t for community college, I would be lost in a major that I would not want to pursue, and let’s not forget possibly drowning in debt.

Always remember, it’s not a race, it’s a journey, and I would not rather be undergoing my journey anywhere else than Citrus College.