Every year millions of students seek to further their education at an institution of higher learning. From researching potential schools to the first day of class, each one of us is undoubtedly faced with a set of concerns. They can include, but are not limited to:
- Financial Aid
- Program Offerings
- Job Outlook
Not only that, but community college stereotypes are in no short supply. Anyone mentioning attending a 2-year college are sometimes met with a response of ridicule, confusion or both! Recent trends indicate a growing shift in public perception of community colleges, but the stigmas surrounding them still remain. Here, we’ll explain some of the myths and bring a bit more clarity to them.
Stereotype #1: A community college degree is not as valuable as a university degree.
In today’s economy, more and more employers are looking to hire applicants, not based on college attended, but on applicable job skills. The metrics of standardized test scores and club affiliations, while still noteworthy accolades, are no longer the benchmarks of a qualified applicant. Employers take into account your entire body of work from your job experience, places you’ve interned at, previous volunteer history, and, of course, the practical skills you can bring to the company. Community college grads have the distinct advantage of entering the workforce with a degree or continue to further their education at a university.Many of the most in-demand jobs require only a 2 year degree.
Stereotype #2: Students attend community colleges because they didn’t get into a university.
This is a large misconception that couldn’t be further from the truth. Students are more price-savvy, progressive and meticulous than in years past when making decisions. Factors such as: tuition hikes, financial aid cuts, program offerings, etc. also affect a student’s choice of college. While these factors affect nearly all schools of higher learning, community colleges offer students lower tuition rates than universities and can save students from a life long repayment of student loan debt. Students at HindsCC get more personal attention because of smaller class sizes and because 6 locations are available, students can learn close to home - in a dorm, by commuting, or even online!
Stereotype #3: Transferring from a junior college to a university is a hassle.
Most universities have their own requirements for enrollment. This can make it difficult for a student to transfer into a particular university if all the prerequisites aren’t met beforehand. Community colleges, such as Hinds Community College, have agreements with universities, which allow students to continue work towards their bachelor’s degree at a 4 year school with core credits that transfer easily.Hinds works with all Mississippi colleges and universities to create a seamless transition between the community colleges and universities.
Stereotype #4: Success is much harder to obtain after attending a community college.
Since the inception of community colleges, many people have attended them and gone on the achieve success in a multitude of ways. A short list of a few notable attendees include:
- Halle Berry
- Gwendolyn Brooks
- David Chu
- Eileen Collins
- James Dean
- Walter Elias Disney
- Clint Eastwood
- Tom Hanks
- Teri Hatcher
- Jim Lehrer
- George Lucas
- Sarah Palin
- Nolan Ryan
- John Walsh
Stereotype #5: Community colleges lack a variety of program options.
In addition to the traditional academic programs, community colleges offer students the opportunity to take on a career or technical program of their choice. They work alongside employers to determine which skills are necessary in a shifting economic landscape and create degree and certificate programs in order to meet those needs. Programs like Geographic Information Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or Telecommunications Technology take emerging technologies and utilize them in a classroom setting, thereby enabling future graduates to enter the workforce with the applicable knowledge necessary.
The stereotypes that have long been associated with community colleges are dissolving because of the employment opportunities that are high-paying and in-demand that only require a 2 year degree. HindsCC offers many programs to get students in the workforce faster, which equals higher pay in a short amount of time. It’s always important that you do your due diligence whether you’re a student or parent, and with the amount of information available it’s easier for you to make an informed decision regarding college choice.
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