Saying that the college application process is stressful, would probably be the understatement of the year. All across the globe, high school students try their hardest to get accepted into the most prestigious universities, in hopes of achieving the best possible future for themselves. For this reason, there’s always been a particular stigma surrounding community colleges. They're deemed as only being for people who were “too stupid” to get accepted into a 4-year college, and ridiculed for it giving a degree that "doesn't take you anywhere in life." However, both of these claims are unfounded. As a matter of fact, studies have found that attending a community college is an economically smart decision that can open many paths, whether you want to further your education or join the workforce upon graduation.
First, let's dispel the myth that going to a community college means that you weren’t smart enough for a 4-year college. In my own personal experience, I’ve found this to be false. Many of my peers from high school opted to attend community colleges, even though a lot of them were honor roll students. Why? Because of how much cheaper the tuition was. According to Forbes, the average cost for attending a four-year public college is $28,000 and can soar all the way up to $59,000 per year if the student is attending a private institute. In comparison, the average cost for community colleges is $3,347. As you can see, going to community college is much more cost efficient in the long run, especially if the student is planning to further their education beyond an Associate's Degree. A cumulative $236,000 can easily be reduced to $124,694, which leads to less student debt and a more stress-free life. It's this kind of appeal that lead 22% of students with an income of over $100,000 to attend them.
Another piece of criticism that community colleges face is the idea that an Associate’s Degree isn't worth anything, which is yet another myth. For one, upon completion of the Associate’s, students can transfer into a 4-year college and earn their Bachelor’s Degree. This gives them a second chance to earn their BA/BS from their dream college. But even if they choose not to do that, an Associate’s Degree by itself can certainly get them good jobs, with an annual salary that can range from $50,000-$122,000. No matter what path they choose to take, they can lead a life that’s just as successful as someone who went to a 4-year college right off the bat.
Overall, if you’re a high school senior that’s thinking about/will be attending a community college, please don’t worry about it. It’s not going to hurt you, and it’s definitely not some kind of reflection on how smart you are. So work hard and dream big, because you will succeed.