top of page

Uncovering the overlooked post-high school pathway

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

By Keirah Chen, Breanna Lu, Norah Shen and Lawrence Ye Oct. 14, 2020

Jessica Lin Art


Over the years, misconceptions about the lack of prestige and reputation of community colleges have created stigma around these institutions. While community colleges have less field-specific classes and networking opportunities in comparison to four-year universities, numerous sources have proven that community colleges also have various benefits for students.


Compared to four-year universities, community colleges have much lower tuition. According to Community College Review, tuition for in-state students is around $4,804 per year. For four-year universities, out-of-state students can pay up to $35,000 for a year of public university and $74,570 for private universities, as stated by the National Society of High School Scholars and CBS News. Furthermore, the Calif. Promise Plan provides financial aid for first-time, full-time community college students.


For four-year universities, out-of-state students can pay up to $35,000 for a year of public university and $74,570 for private universities, as stated by the National Society of High School Scholars and CBS News.

In 2019, Calif. even joined a handful of other states including Md. and N.Y. in providing free two-year tuition for full-time freshmen at community colleges.

Attending a community college can also provide time for students to improve their high school grade point averages and work towards transferring to a four-year university of their choice. After earning an associate degree at community college, students can then transfer to a university and earn a bachelor’s degree. Alternatively, an associate degree could also provide students with an opportunity to immediately begin working in some fields, such as computer programming and air traffic controlling. In addition, several required courses for graduation are shared between community colleges and universities, so students can complete general education courses in community college while reducing student debt.


Furthermore, the flexible schedules of community colleges also offer a balance between school and life with more classes offered during weekends and at night. This provides students with more time to work a part-time job or pursue other activities.

“I really appreciate that community colleges exist. It is much more affordable and local, so students will not have massive debts or have to travel far away from home. Attending a community college is a great way to pursue higher education which is extremely important nowadays,” Freshman Jeannine Yu said.


According to GenFKD, a peer-to-peer educational platform, the number of students enrolling in community college from 2014 to 2025 is expected to rise by 15 percent. Although community college has become increasingly appealing for many, they also fall short of universities in a number of ways. Community colleges have a limited curriculum and more general education classes, making those who know their intended field of study unable to take as many major-specific classes as at a university. They also lack networking opportunities, but whether it be job-hunting or getting work recommendations, networking plays a crucial role in pursuing careers.

With an increasing number of colleges switching to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several students are considering this alternative, cheaper option. According to The Hechinger Report, one in 10 seniors have alternative college plans because of the pandemic, and almost 50 percent of those seniors are going to community college.

With an increasing number of colleges switching to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several students are considering this alternative, cheaper option.

Shira Solomon, Academic Counseling Department, explains that for the school’s class of 2020, the pandemic played a major role in students’ decisions in choosing between a four-year university and community college. Although most graduates from the school who now attend community college were eligible to go to a four-year university, many opted not to go. These students chose community college to determine their major before attending a university, save money, remain closer to home or to increase their chances of being accepted into their preferred in-state public university.


Before seniors determine whether they will attend community college or a four-year university, the school offers various activities and workshops to assist them in choosing a major. In sophomore and junior year, students use Naviance, a website that helps students determine their interests, possible majors, colleges and jobs. Despite the school’s resources for helping students choose majors, many still struggle to determine where their interests lie. Community colleges essentially give students the opportunity to explore more pathways and find a fitting major at a cheaper cost.


Poll: Would you attend community college? Yes: 61.2 % No: 38.8%

165 Students Polled


For students who choose to attend community college after graduation, activities and resources to support and guide them are available at the school. The school’s academic counselors provide students and parents advisory period and back-to-school night presentations, explaining the benefits of community college. Furthermore, according to Samantha Peters, English Department, for seniors, the “What’s Next” workshop held by Calif. State University Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC) teachers in which different post-high-school options including community college are presented and compared to the four-year university pathway. “We discuss the benefits of community college during our tutorial presentations and at parent nights. Local community colleges also assist students with application workshops, information on financial aid and give college overviews,” Solomon said.


Students at the school essentially have access to several of these local community colleges such as De Anza College, West Valley College and San Jose City College.

Solomon suggests that students who plan to transfer from community college should also consult the Destination College Arriving Corps counselor at the school to create appropriate plans. Furthermore, she advises students to research Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) agreements, which provide eligible community college students guaranteed admission to a University of Calif.


Many students also believe that attending a community college makes them ineligible for a four-year university afterwards. However...many of the school’s seniors that chose to attend community college first, were later accepted into selective universities.

Despite the school’s efforts to educate students on the benefits of community college, the stigma that surrounds this path still exists at the school. According to Solomon, students at the school can often feel pressured into attending a four-year university directly after graduating and going to community college first is often seen as a last resort or inferior choice. Many students also believe that attending a community college makes them ineligible for a four-year university afterwards. However, Solomon explains that these judgments are false, as many of the school’s seniors that chose to attend community college first, were later accepted into selective universities. Furthermore, these students were able to graduate from college with similar degrees as those who attended a four-year university right after high school.


“In the past, I was pressured into believing that if you went to community college, you were not as good as other students. It was not until I went to San Jose State University and actually met and shared classes with some brilliant people who were transfers from local community colleges that I realized I was wrong. Everyone moves at different paces, and it is not anyone’s place to judge what someone chooses to do after graduation,” Elaine Ngo, English Department said.

 

About the Contributors

Keirah Chen

Staff Writer


Keirah Chen is a sophomore at Leland high school and is a staff writer. She likes going places with friends and watching horror movies.











Breanna Lu

Staff Writer


Breanna Lu is a freshman and a new staff writer. She enjoys binge watching sci-fi movies and her favorite book genre is murder mysteries/crime fiction. In her free time, you will most likely find her asleep or chatting with her friends.








Norah Shen

Staff Writer


Norah Shen is a freshman at Leland High School and is a new staff writer. She likes to read, listen to music, and relentlessly tease her younger sister.











Larry Ye

Staff Writer


Larry Ye is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer for the Leland Charger Account. He likes to swim and travel and loves his pets, Simon and Meatball.

142 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Opmerkingen


Screen Shot 2024-02-24 at 7.54.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-02-24 at 7.55.49 PM.png

Facebook

Have any questions? Want to make any suggestions? Contact us at 

We'll reply as soon as we can!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Notice any mistakes?

Contact us here!

Recent Articles

Screen Shot 2024-02-24 at 7.55.11 PM.png
bottom of page