Are you considering pursuing an associate degree after high school? Don’t let others’ stereotypes hold you back. Start searching for the best two-year program for you.
Myth: Students attend community college because they can’t get into a four-year university.
Truth: “This is true for some students; it is no longer true for the majority of students,” says Tom Proietti, professor of communications at Monroe Community College (monroecc.edu). The quality of education at two-year schools can be impressive, and Proietti says many are becoming “first-choice institutions.”
If you don’t want to attend a four-year college right out of high school, a community college is a good place to discover what you want to do.
“When starting off college, I think most kids are scared, unsure and confused as to what they exactly want to do with their entire life,” says Krista Nichiporuk, who earned an associate degree in 2006. “I just feel that taking the route of a community college can help college students really decide on what they will pursue without spending and wasting away money.”
“Plus, community colleges are affordable, sensible, flexible and place a great deal of emphasis on good teaching,” Proietti says. “And you won’t leave college with $75K in loans.”
Myth: The education and/or instructors are not high quality because community colleges are cheaper than four-year schools.
Truth: Proietti calls this myth “absolute garbage.”
“Our central focus is teaching. It is what we get ranked, evaluated and promoted on,” he says.
Myth: I can’t get a job with an associate degree.
Truth: “The main focus to getting a job is gaining experience, not necessarily the degree you have,” Nichiporuk says. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!”
Myth: Four-year schools won’t accept my credits if I transfer.
Truth: When you decide that you want to transfer to a four-year college, meet with a transfer counselor at your community college to make sure the bachelor’s program will accept your completed credits.
Some community colleges offer a “2+2” program, which ensures that your credits count toward transferring to specific colleges.
Myth: I have to live at home if I attend a community college.
Truth: Where as this may have been the case in the past, it does not have to be the case anymore.
Many community colleges offer recently built dorms on campus. Renting an apartment with friends is another way out of the house.
Jessica Assimon is a junior magazine journalism major at Syracuse University who loves “The Office,” writing, going to concerts and rooting for her favorite basketball team, the Syracuse Orange.