Don’t Sack Mt. SAC

Oh no, I’m going to Mt. Sac!” Many of us have probably heard this line yelled by an individual upset at having received a bad grade at one point in our high school career. This often-demeaning attitude toward community colleges seems to be common among the sea of ambitious students attending DBHS. This ignorant outlook, however, is merely a reflection of the erroneous stigma of attending a community college.

The open-door admissions policy, which allows community colleges to accept anybody regardless of their academic record, evokes the false impression that only the less intelligent go there. This reputation is distorted; attending a community college for the first two years, then transferring to a four-year college as a junior is actually a smart option.

First and foremost, it can save thousands of dollars. The tuition at a community college is typically less than half of that at a public four-year college and equal to roughly one-tenth that at a private university. As changing majors is also common among college students, attending community colleges allows more time for students to ponder about one’s major instead of wasting money at an expensive university for a general education. Moreover, commuting to school rather than staying in dorms will save room and board costs, which can easily add more than ten thousand dollars on top of the tuition. With the rise in student loans, community college will help in the long run to avoid greater financial burdens.

For others, high school may not have been a time when grades were top priority. Whatever the reason, the option of community colleges gives those who left grades on the back burner during high school a chance to redeem themselves. Instead of the cutthroat nature of other high-status universities, the less demanding curriculum of junior colleges will allow students to more easily maintain their GPA, making the transfer in the future easier. Additionally, community colleges will give those who are ambivalent about attending college time to decide whether or not to continue to pursue higher education or to start working.

Of course this is not to say that students should stop aiming for the Ivy leagues, UCs, and other prestigious universities. After all, the appeal of distinguished research programs and other factors serves as great incentives to do well in the four years of high school. Diligent students also deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor by being able to attend such admired universities.  However, the stigma of community colleges is undoubtedly an ill-informed viewpoint that belittles the educational value of community colleges. So next time, perhaps some of these individuals should think with their “UC-deserving” brains before making the degrading declaration “I’m going to Mt. Sac!”