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Ayla Ford

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Why do people have such a negative outlook on community colleges?

I am a senior in high school and upon discussing furthering my education several of my peers looked with distain at my choice of choosing ivy tech instead of a university.
-Why should students feel bad about where they are attending? we are still furthering our education.
-If anything we are making a smart decision financially and will not be burdened with insane student loans.

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  • Apr 26 2013: Just so we're clear on something, school isn't the only source of knowledge available in current times. When I was finishing highschool 3 years ago, I asked myself the same question. There really is no advantage to going a fancy school if 6 months after you graduate you're going to be in debt for the rest of your life. Whether you find a professional job related to your field or not, 6 months after you graduate, you have to start paying your loan. The longer you take to finish paying, the more interest you have to pay.

    Life tip: Go to a community college; Sharpen your knowledge on your major by reading articles/books related to your major on your own. Participate in the clubs that your school offer that relate to what you're majoring in. Believe it or not, Youtube is also a good source for documentaries and lectures.

    If your parents can afford it, go to a university. Just know that a piece of paper with your name on it from an expensive school doesn't make you smarter.
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    Apr 27 2013: To many people, they are not academically rigorous. You are typically not required to perform at as high of a level as your would at a university in order to get the same grades (mostly because admission is not selective). There is usually no research going on and opportunities for students to do research or get work experience tends to be limited, as well. Obviously, this varies from school to school, but that has been my general experience with community colleges in southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana.
    However, whether it's a good idea or not really depends on what you want to do. My advice is if it's something you can do without having the $80,000 piece of paper, then don't even go. Unless you have a scholarship or money to blow, it's a waste of time and money to go to school to do basically anything in the arts (theater, music, sculpture, painting, photography, creative writing). If you want to write or paint, then just do it. Don't put yourself in debt if you don't need to. I also think it's a waste if you simply want to do research (in sciences like biology or chemistry, or social sciences like sociology or psychology). Essentially, unless your job description is going to say "B.S. required", school isn't worth it right now. It's too expensive and there are few jobs available after you graduate.
    There are TONS of free online education resources if you want to expand your knowledge. iTunes U has hundreds of courses in everything from physics to economics to art history from schools like UCLA, Stanford and MIT that you can access for free. There are also numerous website that offer free text books and course materials as well.
    In a nut shell, if you don't have to have a degree to do what you love, then don't bother with school and simply go do what you love. You'll learn more by doing than by sitting in a classroom anyway.
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    Apr 24 2013: I think community colleges provide an enormous service. I know many students who start their post-secondary education at community colleges.
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      Apr 25 2013: ZX, community colleges are two year colleges and typically cost around half or less than the price of a state college. Anyone can enroll who has a high school degree or its equivalent. When I say its equivalent, there is a test students can take that is standard across the United States that is accepted in lieu of high school graduation. The community college doesn't just take the student's word for it. The GED tests math, English, science, and social studies.

      In fact students can enroll at the community college even without that and take courses to help them prepare for that test. Once they pass they can take the regular community college courses toward a college degree.

      The Community College offers some two year degrees that are vocational. For example, a community college might have a two year degree that certifies someone to be a chef, a drug and alcohol counselor, or a boat builder without pursuing any further formal education.

      Students who earn credits at the community college can typically transfer those to the state college. So many students effectively do their first two years of college at a community college and then transfer and get their degrees from the state school.

      Community colleges have smaller classes than the state universities. The teachers are typically not content specialists at nearly the level of the faculty at the university but they are also entirely focused on teaching, so for some first year courses, some students might get some advantage at a community college.

      That said, because the strongest students graduating from the state's high schools will typically go straight to university, the pitch of the courses- their rigor- is less than at the state university. The top students at the community college are often high school students who choose to take some college courses while in high school.
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          Apr 25 2013: Education is very, very expensive, except that the top students (high performing, creative, who have done interesting and inventive things) of moderate income can get very generous aid, as the great universities compete for those kids. Effort is obviously a factor in what kids achieve, and lots of students work very hard. The top universities look for unique takes on things, intellectual vitality, and so forth.

          Obviously the US has lots of universities and colleges also that are very ordinary as well.
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          Apr 26 2013: I find, in reference to your link, that I have had the pleasure of teaching at two of the top ten and three of the top twenty-five.
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          Apr 27 2013: Lots of brilliant researchers never get quoted, actually, in a broad public way, because their work doesn't have crowd appeal. But their work is often cited in other people's research.
          One way of thinking about why you want researchers is that you want people to be pushing the boundaries of what we understand, who are engaged in continuous questioning and discovery, and you want students to be taught by teachers who understand not just the fundamentals of their disciplines but also what the frontiers are. You want people who are passionate about learning in the sense of identifying new problems and pursuing them in new ways.

          Some professors slow down late in their careers, but a large number work tirelessly and supervise lots of students through their sixties and even seventies.

          When universities hire faculty, both the research and teaching records are part of the picture. Some are a lot better at one than the other, in part because teachers can forget what students don't already know. Some brilliant researchers are introverts and don't do well in front of big classes. So teaching quality varies.

          And different universities draw a different caliber of researcher in a creative sense.
  • Apr 24 2013: I majored in baseball in high school and did just enough to get by.

    Community college enabled me to try three fields and get associates degrees, before eventually getting a BSME and MSME. It let me mature as a person and develop as a student, while working at different jobs to help defer costs and get some experience. Learning what the working world is like can help you make you career decisions.

    Community college is like any other school in that the amount of work you do largely determines what you get out of the experience.

    I have had a successful career and a happy life. Community college was very good for me.