Some Students Brush Off Community College Because They Want To “Fit In”
Rosamelia Sanchez | Writer
Many students see beginning their higher-ed journey in a 4-year school as the default after high school. Therefore, community college is only considered by a few.
A study conducted by the Teachers College, Columbia University, shows that in 2019, 16,934,323 undergraduate students attended 4-year schools, and 5,455,976 undergraduate students attended 2-year schools.
Although there is a noticeable preference for starting higher education in a 4-year school, in many cases, community college can give students a head start and a smoother transition into a 4-year university. Many factors play a role in the reason why some students disregard community college.
According to Jessica Ortiz, director of the First-Year Experience program at LCCC, wanting to fit in is one of these factors.
“I saw all of my peers committing to four-year colleges,” she said. “I worked just as hard as they did, and they were going to four-year schools. And I really wanted to be just like them.”
In her case, not taking other factors (like socioeconomic status) into consideration did not help.
“I wasn’t familiar with the socioeconomic status of my classmates,” she said. “I just wanted a similar experience to my peers even though I didn't have the finances that many of them had."
In some cases, a 4-year university is in the student’s best interest. But there are instances where community college could have a significant impact on their future student loan debt. However, some students do not consider this after graduating high school, and dealing with student debt can become more difficult for those who are not familiar with their options. This is common with students who, like Ortiz, are first-generation.
“My dad was just glad I was going to college,” she said. “But nobody really asked me what kind of job I was looking for or if I was gonna be able to pay my loans back.”
In cases like Ortiz’s, the more educated a student is on their options, the better they can make decisions that benefit them and their career in the long run.