Community College is a Respectable Education Option

Elaina Martin, Opinions Editor

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I wish I was familiar with the different routes available for college when I was applying as a senior in high school.”

— UCSD Senior Susan Heng

As the school year comes to a close, many students have committed to their colleges, bracing themselves for a new chapter in their lives. College is a huge decision with many different options, ranging from prestigious four-year universities to local community colleges.  However, many students avoid looking into community colleges due to the less-than-stellar reputation associated with them. What they might not realize is that community college can be a great way for new high school graduates to get their feet on the ground. Thus, community colleges deserve more respect.

   Four-year universities are expensive, with tuition costs going up every year. Financial aid fails to meet the gap and many students end up graduating with much student debt. According to CNBC, “By completing your first two years of undergraduate education at a community college, you’re shelling out about a third less in tuition dollars compared to a public four-year school in state” (

   This being said, student debt is a huge problem. According to Business Insider, student debt per college graduate in the US is around 18,000 dollars. Large amounts of debt can negatively affect one’s mental health as they increase stress and, possibly, depression levels (  Spending two years at a community college can help curb excessive student debt and improve the newly graduated students’ mental health.

   For some, high school didn’t go as well as they wanted. Luckily, community college can provide a way to build your reputation as a student back up. According to Forbes, “Standardized tests and your high school GPA don’t matter as much if you have a new track record from a two-year school. Prove yourself, and you have an opportunity to get scholarships and meet other requirements to transfer to a university” (

   “Community college allows students to still get their general requirements if they aren’t sure what they want to major in,” said Senior Yolanda Lopez. After you receive your two-year degree (associate’s degree) at a community college, you can transfer to a four-year university with your credits.

   UCSD Senior Susan Heng said, “I wish I was familiar with the different routes available for college when I was applying as a senior in high school. I could have saved my parents from the financial burden of a UC school and could have had a much smoother transition into the size and workload that accompanied a public (four-year) university.” Thus, community colleges are a fantastic way to get back on track, even figure out, and continue, your professional life.

   Some might argue that one can’t receive the same level of education from community colleges that one would at a four-year institution. However, community college classes can actually offer a very in-depth education that can be more tailored to the student. Community college classes are often smaller than those at a public university because of their smaller student population. Thus, students can often easily receive one-on-one help from their professors.

   Another argument against community colleges might be that their professors aren’t as well-equipped. In reality, according to an educational information website, most community college professors are required to have a master’s or doctoral degree. Also, university professors can often be more focused on conducting research rather than teaching — community colleges don’t provide research grants, so their professors’ main focus is the learning experience of their students (

   In the end, community colleges are a perfectly respectable way to kickstart one’s professional life. Not only do they offer lower tuition costs, but they also can offer a more personalized education experience. There is absolutely no shame in choosing a community college as one’s education beyond high school.

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