Student Stories

Revisiting the Value of Community College

Do you remember  the months approaching high school graduation when everyone is gushing about the schools they’ve gotten into and bashing the ivy league they didn’t?

Many professionals will tell you that it doesn’t matter whether  you go to one of the leagues or a state school, a C is the average across the board. If you go to a state school, however, you’re  probably better off because  you won’t have nearly as much debt.

All the same, I can remember envying those that got  into big name schools, the anxiety about my own college enrollment, and I’m  ashamed  to admit a hint of pity for those who only got into community college.

But having attending  both a two-year and four-year school, I have to admit I liked the two-year better. Not only were the classes shorter and less intimidating, but more of my professors were professionals still applying their trade.

I don’t  know if I felt more sure of myself because I had a vision of my future after graduation or because I thought community college was for people who didn’t meet the grade requirements of four-year schools, but I felt more sure of myself than I ever had at my previous school.

It’s  better to say that community college is for those who want to ease into college, whether you’re  not emotionally or academically ready, or just don’t  know what you want. I went two years at a four-year  school without declaring a major even though my classes were in the general direction of pre-med and English. Upon enrolling  in a two-year, the advisor sat me down and asked what my major would be. I chose English, and they offered journalism. Therein lies the fundamental  difference  between  a two-year and a four-year  school: limited career-based curriculum.

My four-year degree prepared me for further study while my two-year degree prepared me to work.

My professors required that I go out and find stories, conduct interviews, and write pitch letters along with attending regular English lectures, complete readings and write essays all in a year and a half. Best of all, I graduated with an awesome GPA and a letter inviting me to apply to Columbia, this at a fraction of the cost.

After graduation, I got my first internship with an award winning  website and magazine  publisher, which led to my first printed article; little victories that boosted my confidence, and in turn marketability, in a fraction of the time.

Upon returning  to a four-year college, I was ineligible for any journalism  classes having taken them at the associate level. I’ve also finished all my requirements  for my bachelor’s  degree, with the exception  of five elective credits I don’t have the use or money for. I could take a seminar analyzing South Park for all the university cares, all to achieve a “well-rounded” academic  portfolio. Maybe in this job market, where everyone demands a four-year degree, we should examine how much real world work experience  goes into it.

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Anna Gray

Anna is an English student at CUNY, and has written for and Twice Magazine. She has a degree in Journalism and is currently working on one in English. She is a hoarder of books and lover of food, and wishes reality hadn’t dashed her dreams of being a well-paid travel writer. One day she hopes to get a position that combines all three, and she’s here to share her progress with you- from internship to beyond.

  • MoltonP

    Thank you for the post. I am confident that it will give some feeling of relief to many students, who cannot enter some prestigious educational establishments. When I am asked about colleges and their significance, I like telling stories of famous people, you know they are not all graduates of some super expensive school. At the same time there are some many students, who studied in popular colleges, but failed to gain success, most of them were not even able to accomplish thesis and the only way was to find online thesis writers and ordering such papers. To my mind, everything depends on personal desire to study.