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College 101

Don’t Be a Cliché: If You’re Going to Do This…
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

Listen up. Community College can be a very smart way to get affordable training for a career, save money on your way to a four-year degree, or explore some options while you figure out what you want to do without breaking the bank.

But just because it can be a smart plan, doesn’t mean there aren’t some ways you can muck it up. Shmoop highly suggests you don’t take a good idea and make it crummy.  Here’s what you want to avoid:

-The Under-Matched Student

Studies show that underprivileged students who enroll in Community College are much more likely to go on to earn a four-year degree. Wonderful! Studies also show that students who could have easily gone right from high school into a four-year college and been successful, but instead decided to go with the less-challenging route of Community College, are actually less likely to graduate from a four-year program. Meaning, if you have the intention, the smarts, and the means to graduate from a four-year college, skip the Community College part.

-The Pigeonholed Student

Community College and an Associate’s Degree are going to prepare you for a specific career. This sounds awesome … if you know exactly what you want to do. If you aren’t sure, it will come as a pretty nasty wake-up call seven years down the line when you are trained as an X-Ray Technician and you realize you don’t want to be an X-Ray Technician, but instead want to be a Computer Programmer. Not too many transferrable skills there.

-The Floater

While some Community College courses will be very challenging, most are known to have a less-rigorous work load than at a four-year college. Nice. Time to take it easy, right? Wrong. Floating through your classes, not really putting in full effort is only going to hurt. Why? Either you are going to graduate and go into the workforce, or you are going to transfer to a four-year college. Doing so with lazy habits and poor follow-through probably isn’t the best idea.

-The Perpetual Community College Student

This is the student who actually is a member of lots of clubs and social organizations on campus, which is great. What isn’t so great is that he also happens to have been president of the Student Poet Society for six years. What’s going on here? This is the guy who enrolled in Community College to explore some career possibilities. Seven years later, and he has nearly completed three different Associate’s Degrees, but has decided to switch programs in the final semester of each. Community College is only a good deal if you don’t stay there forever.

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