The case for community

By JOSH GRAY

I had the perception that community college was for losers that couldn’t handle college and didn’t care about their lives. 

I never knew what I wanted to do until two weeks ago, but in high school I knew that I would go to a four-year institution. I was not going to end up like all the others going to community college. 

Obviously, life had other plans for me. 

When I eventually made my decision, I knew I wanted to leave boring Pennsylvania and go somewhere new. That kind of move, however, comes with a price. 

So I made the decision to come to Pima Community College, and then I planned to transfer to the University of Arizona.

After spending about two years at Pima, I have changed my perception of community colleges. Community college was an excellent choice for multiple reasons. 

First, it’s much cheaper than going straight to a four-year college, especially for out-of-state students. To compare, Pima’s out-of-state tuition and fees is, according to the Pima website, about $7,502, while the University of Arizona’s out-of-state tuition and fees, according to the UA’s website, is about $37,300.

Not only is Pima’s cost cheaper, but by going to Pima or any community college for two years helps non-resident students get residency status to apply as an in-state student to a four-year institution.

With that extra time to get residency, it also gives those who are undecided to think about their future and choose a career path. Pima provides a lot of options, with about 117 degrees and 147 credit courses, according to the Pima website. 

They are so many different options to pick from. If you are undecided, taking a variety of classes helps give you an idea of what you like and what you enjoy and then you can take more if you decide to do so. 

Pima now has degree specific advisers to help you make decisions and plans for your future. The advisers can help you look at what you have done and point you in a direction that will not only help you finish, but it will also give you a chance to pursue something that you like or are good at.

The smooth transition that comes from going to a community college helps those transferring get used to the college life before jumping into a four-year university. 

Community college is like high school, but you take fewer classes and need to plan your week rather than a single day that you repeat for 180 days. You also get longer breaks. 

The content, to some, is harder than high school and the expectations are a little bit higher, but that’s what college is. A four-year college is more demanding than anything, so going to a community college preps you for the harsh reality of adult life.

If you just want to come and get a certificate or an associate degree, community college is for you, but if you are planning on going straight to a university, consider going to community college first and go from there.

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