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The Truth About Community College (hint-it's awesome!)

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

by Sara Bittner

A laptop, backpack, and notebook on a table
Community colleges can be a great option


Is Community College a Good Option?

Community College, also known as Junior College (JuCo), 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, and many students and their families do not view JuCo as a viable route to obtaining a quality and comprehensive education that will prepare them for the job market and post baccalaureate studies. Contrary to these beliefs, I believe JuCos do an amazing job at providing educational training, preparation, and opportunity to a diverse set of students, including those seeking or are 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

Community College is not a good school for students with good 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. Oftentimes, students and families choose junior colleges as they are often more affordable and require less financial commitment. High-achieving students can apply to become members of Honors Programs, which often require submission of the ACT or SAT, where they will receive additional academic support and challenges to help inspire and mentor their ambitions.


MYTH 2

Community 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.


community college football players
Many community colleges have athletics


MYTH 3

Community Colleges have little to no student life or athletics.

Just like four-year public and private universities, JuCos 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

Community College courses are easy.

Junior colleges offer varying levels 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.



Professor teaching math at a community college
Community College professors are qualified


MYTH 5

Community College professors are subpar.

I end with this because this is perhaps the biggest fallacy of all. Oftentimes, professors teach at JuCos 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, 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 JuCos 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


 

About the Author


Sara Bittner is a co-founder of LAUNCH education consultants as well as a guidance and community coach. She specializes in American east-coast schools, student-athletes, expat and third culture families, and application essays. In her free time, she enjoys reading, biking, and fitness. She currently resides in the Netherlands with her husband and two children.


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