Escape From City College: Community Colleges vs. “Real” Colleges
By Becca Hoekstra
Students come to City College for a variety of reasons. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that many students aim to leave CCSF for a university, or something similar.
“I’m just here until I transfer,” we say to each other and our school counselors. We constantly reassure our parents, our grandparents, even our friends of that phrase: “just to transfer”. As if we’re ashamed.
Why? What’s with all the hate towards community colleges? Where did the stigma that a cheaper education is a lesser one come from?
It can’t be quality of education: Plenty of teachers at City College also work at the more expensive universities in the area. There’s at least one with a Ph.D. from Harvard.
Which isn’t to say that all teachers here are great – “Here class, here’s a printout and a movie” does not count as high caliber instruction. Do the ramblings of an ancient tenured professor, who hasn’t been in their field for 50 years, and let the graduate students grade all the papers, really count for more?
No matter the school, achieving a degree follows the same process: taking specified, fairly standardized classes to further understand a subject.
The echoes of rising tuition costs are hard to ignore, so it’s important to be mindful of your educational expenses. Right now, I like paying a few hundred dollars per semester at CCSF, rather than several thousand at a state college or $40,000+ for an Ivy League education. With this economy, it could easily be more important to graduate without a mortgage worth of student debt than to attend a university.
Do people just knock on community college because of the phrase “you get what you pay for”? Automatically, people assume something is worth less because it costs less, which is unfortunate for those of us who believe a worthwhile education shouldn’t have to break the bank.
Ambitious students can find success at any college. There are fantastic opportunities all over City College – be it in a remarkable teacher, a colleague with connections, an open internship, clubs or a campus job – so bolster that resume with the awesome advantages available though CCSF.
Maybe our actions can speak louder than our wallets. A more expensive education doesn’t always mean a better one. Be proud of our school, and praise yourself for being clever enough to save thousands on general education classes before moving on to your specialization at a university.
Maybe what we’re looking for here isn’t to make a grand societal impression – it’s to better our brains and broaden our experiences. I would end by saying that is priceless – but what a terrible cliche.