For a lot of students who go to junior college, their decision to attend was initially met with questions as to why or concerns of if they would be getting a valid education. I think there are many misconceptions of junior college that no one cares to correct. Junior college education is not less valid than a four-year educational institution. At a junior college that offers two year degree plans, students are taking the same general courses that students in universities take in their first two years, but often at a lower cost.
The general courses include basic English, math, science and courses in specialized degree topics. Also, many students are working toward a certificate or an associate degree in order to go into the workforce. Junior colleges are especially useful for this path. Junior college classes transfer to a university where students can further their degree to earn a bachelor’s degree. In Kate Barrington’s article on communitycollegereview.com called “Overcoming the Stigma of Community College,” Barrington brought to light what ultimately makes a difference in education. “The fact of the matter is that the type of school doesn’t matter.
It’s all about the qualifications and experience of the professors and the work ethic of each individual student,” Barrington wrote. Another misconception Barrington mentions is that junior college classes are an extension of high school and are therefore easier than university classes. At junior college, you receive college credit for the courses you take unlike high school courses.
According to Hilary Cairns, who wrote on collegeraptor.com and is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz with Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing, “Oftentimes, students head to community colleges believing that the courses will be extremely easy, which is not the case,” Cairns said. “In fact, classes can be just as difficult as four-year colleges.
Many students make the mistake of approaching them the same way they did in high school.” Approaching the end of my time at Tyler Junior College, which is spring 2021, I’ve learned that there are two main types of students at junior college. There are the students who belittle the value of their time at community college and brush it off, and students who are focused on just doing a good job where they’re at.
It’s like that quote, “Bloom where you are planted.” Being at TJC has taught me a lot about applying myself even when people think it’s funny to belittle me. So no, junior colleges are not easier than university and they should never be made out to be.
All debate aside, I believe it is important to not disparage anyone’s choices of education, to not compare walks of life and most importantly to be happy for people who are presented with opportunities to further their academic career, whether that be at a university or junior college.