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LAUNCH THOUGHTS - Junior College in America: Myths vs Truths

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

Junior College (JuCo), also known as Community College, is often confusing for domestic and international students alike. Since junior college has different cultural meanings, there is confusion about the level of education. Couple this confusion with the proliferation of misinformation, many students and their families do not view JuCo as a viable route to obtaining a quality and comprehensive education, which will prepare them for the job market and post baccalaureate studies. Contrary to these beliefs, I believe JuCo’s exist and do an amazing job at providing educational training, preparation, and opportunity to a diverse set of students, including those seeking or currently pursuing vocational or white collar careers. With this post I hope to combat five popular myths about JuCo’s and open up doors of opportunity for our followers.

MYTH 1: Junior College is not a good school for students with good or great grades.

Junior colleges are required to meet the education requirements of their regional accrediting agency, which means a top university in the same region as a junior college must meet the same requirements for faculty, curriculum, and more. Often times, students and families choose junior colleges as they are often more affordable and requirement less financial commitment. High achieving students can apply to become members of Honors Programs, which often requires submission of the ACT or SAT, where they will receive additional academic support and challenges to help inspire and mentor their ambitions.

MYTH 2: Junior College credits will not transfer to four-year universities.

While it is never an easy process to transfer, transferring credits does not have to be difficult. Private and public colleges have different policies to follow when deciding to accept credits so it is important for students to work on their four-year university transfer list to better understand which classes to take at a JuCo. Additionally, many colleges have transfer agreements which outline the courses a student needs to take at the JuCo level. In addition, there are many secondary school students who enroll in classes at JuCo’s (called dual enrollment) to earn post secondary credit while in secondary school and allow them to accelerate their courses at university. In addition, many four-year university students enroll in summer classes at JuCos to get ahead of their class schedule over the summers.

MYTH 3: Junior Colleges have little to no student life or athletics.

Just like four-year public and private universities, JuCo’s offer their students opportunities to meet others with shared passions and interests, build their leadership skills, and compete in various athletic teams (governed by the NJCAA). In fact, many athletes use their JuCo time to develop and hone their skills, do GPA strengthening, and prepare to make a difference at the four-year level. Sports teams also help build a sense of campus life and spirit.

While many JuCo’s do not offer on-campus housing, a number utilize their social capital within their communities to offer affordable housing options to students. In regards to international travel, JuCo’s form consortiums, which allow schools to pool their resources and provide increased travel and study opportunities than if they were to plan them as a sole institution.

MYTH 4: Junior College courses are easy.

Junior colleges offer varying level of courses depending on student’s abilities including Honors Programs such as those at Northern Virginia Community College, Saddleback Community College, and Tallahassee Community College. The varying programs allow students to prepare for their next life transition in a way that is affordable and intellectually suitable for their ambitions. While professors aim to make classes comfortable and welcoming, they hold students to high expectations and push them outside their comfort zones.

MYTH 5: Junior College professors are subpar.

I end with this because this is perhaps the biggest fallacy of all. Often times, professors teach at JuCo’s because they truly get to teach more than once or twice a semester, which is often the norm at larger, research-based universities. In fact, in a 2008 study by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) found 90% of faculty solely focus on teaching instead of research. As underserved groups make up a large portion of students at junior colleges, professors aim to focus on student well-being and success, which prepares them for later life transitions.

LAUNCH believes JuCo’s offer students a variety of exciting and door opening opportunities for many students. So while many people perceive JuCo’s are less, they in fact are more than people expect. To begin your educational journey, make sure to book a free consultation with LAUNCH education advisors. #dreamlaunchsoar

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