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Opinion: Community College

By Emma O'Leary in Opinion & Politics

Fairview is a competitive school. Many students take all advanced classes and pack their schedules with extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, and leadership positions in order to have their college applications stand out. Every year, a handful of seniors are accepted into some of the nation’s top schools. In this competitive environment, attending community college might not even cross a senior’s radar. However, community colleges are very beneficial for a variety of students.

Recently, a friend of mine announced her plan to attend Front Range Community College. Upon this declaration, another friend asked, “Why are you going to community college?” and her tone seemed to imply that she couldn’t think of a reason as to why anyone would want to go to Front Range.

This is only one example. Our society has attached a stigma to the idea of attending a community college. Community college is perceived as the option for those who have nowhere else to go, the option for people that aren’t smart.

But this isn’t true. I believe that we need to free community college of its negative stigma and acknowledge that it is a viable option that offers benefits for many people.

I tend to be an academically competitive person, and I have also been affected by the stigma that comes with community college. I’m only a junior, and while I am well aware of the benefits of community college, I still do not want to consider it as an option. I know that attending wouldn’t make me inferior to my peers in any way, but I feel like I would be judged for doing so.

You might be thinking, ‘You don’t want to attend community college for fear of being judged, but you’re arguing that society should rid it of the stigma?’. Yes. Because as of now, I wouldn’t stand with the majority of people, and I am not the type of person that likes to bring attention to myself by doing something different. But if we can attempt to change society’s conception of community college, more people would feel comfortable considering it as an option.

Community college offers a great opportunity for those who aren’t sure of the path they want to embark on during college. Instead of shelling out thousands of dollars for classes that will not be of any use in the future, students can attend a 2 year community college. This will give them time to firmly decide their major, and take care of certain credits for a lower price.

According to The American Association for Community College, many community college teachers’ primary focus is teaching, instead of research. Similarly, class sizes tend to be smaller, providing students with the opportunity to seek help from teachers and form relationships with them.

I hope that our society can come to the realization that community colleges can provide a great education and acknowledge that they offer numerous benefits for many talented students. Hopefully one day, community colleges will be freed of their negative stigma that is pegged to them today.

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