By The Collegiate Staff
There are a plethora of reasons why a student should choose community college – the connections and opportunities, the financial benefits, and the flexibility – just to name a few.
There are also a plethora of reasons why people disregard and diminish community colleges. From a student perspective, one of the foremost reasons why people write community college off is that by attending, they won’t get a “college experience”.
Looking at what makes a “college experience” to most young people, it is true that there isn’t on-campus housing (which means no parties) or sororities or fraternities. But look at this through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic: none of that matters anymore. The social scene is a moot point right now.
Students at large universities now are forced to either stay at home or confined to their apartments or dorms. There really is not a “college experience” anywhere you go right now, so community college students are not missing out on anything.
It’s also currently a safer environment for community college students. Since there is no on-campus housing and most of our classes are still in virtual formats, students don’t have any reason to come to campus. They can remain safe in their homes and don’t have to worry about potentially contracting the virus.
Outside of this and the pandemic, there are many other benefits that draw students to community colleges. Particularly to Grand Rapids Community College, the school is right in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. This is a benefit to a lot of local students since it’s close to home. For students who aren’t Grand Rapids natives, they are able to explore a wonderful city with plenty to do.
The preponderant advantage to any community college is the tuition prices. With affordable tuition comes less student debt – something that every student dreads. Community college students also don’t have to worry about paying thousands of dollars for room and board. Students are able to freely move forward in their lives without the burden of student debt looming over them, causing excess stress and worry.
Because community colleges are much more flexible than universities, students have more time for work while also taking classes. They can begin putting money away to save for when they transfer to a four-year institution.
Yet another advantage to community college is it helps students ease into the vast world of higher education. It can be extremely intimidating to start at a colossal university straight out of high school. Community colleges help students transition into college and provide them with all sorts of support services to assist them along the way. Students can get an opportunity to have a fresh start and thrive at community college and then transfer to a university with newfound confidence.
“GRCC has helped improve my confidence in my learning ability, and the college helped me realize that I belong in higher education — I just needed a chance,” said GRCC student Aya Ghlaim. “I have been able to learn from great professionals and professors. GRCC has given me the confidence to continue my education.”
Community colleges should be rid of the misconceptions that belittle them. These stereotypes surrounding them are quickly diminished once you get into a community college setting. Community college helps students become adjusted to higher education while saving them thousands of dollars. The benefits, such as the monetary advantages, the locality, and the flexibility, significantly outweigh the fallacies.