Four-Year, Two-Year or No School? Whatever It Is Follow Your Dreams
This story was my first opinion news article for my college newspaper, The Collegian. It shut down two years ago. My message still applies. Originally published April 13, 2016.
Life after high school graduation can be confusing; a milestone has finally been reached. Now you’re left to make your own decisions. Throughout being nurtured and looked after during all four years of high school, the decision that has been most considered is what higher education will be best suited for each student and how it can make a difference in their life.
Students are most likely given choices of what schools they can attend, or they are forced into a certain college or university. Traditionally, it has always been critical that a student attend a four-year university, Ivy League school or traditional college after graduation. Why is there a stigma that it is mandatory that students have to attend a four-year university after high school?
There is also the choice that students can receive an education from a two-year institution, technical college or community college after high school.
Are students even left with the option of not wanting to attend school? The purpose of higher education is to receive a degree or diploma to obtain a beneficial career. Not all person’s agree to pursue a respected career in the legal or medical field or wish to be a CEO of a five-star company. There are careers where a successful lifestyle can be affordable without the need of an education. Life is all about choices, and being given the responsibility to choose them wisely.
*Perimeter College is not the average two-year college, it’s the only and oldest public two-year institution under the University System of Georgia. Perimeter College and other community colleges are not the same. With the college’s merger with Georgia State University, it will still be considered a two-year institution where students can pursue an associate’s degree. Two-year schools differ from a university because they have always been inexpensive, easier to commute to and from, in addition to having smaller classes and a smaller student body.
According to American Association of Community Colleges, “without community colleges, millions of students and adult learners would not be able to access the education they need to be prepared for further education or the workplace. Community colleges often are the access point for education in a town and a real catalyst for economic development.” Community colleges’ median age for students is 29, even though the age surpasses the age level of high school students, community colleges are beneficial for traditional and nontraditional students.
Delana Pope, a biology major at Clarkston campus said, that she would rather attend a four-year because “it’ll feel more college oriented and the schools are bigger.” Public and private universities are more expensive, but government funds are available through scholarships, Pell Grant and, in the state of Georgia, the HOPE scholarship, that will pay most of student’s tuition.
Just like in the movies, the frat parties, social mixers and early 8 a.m. classes are definitely real. It’s kind of hard leaving home for the first time and not knowing what to expect.
Who says that a person has to attend any school after high school graduation? What if their major is undecided? What if it is not affordable even with the help of scholarships? There could be anxiety from being so far away from home, or they may just not want to go at all. Everybody has choices and choosing to not go to college, or choosing a two-year college is valid. A student’s mind does not have to be completely made up just yet. What if they want to explore the world or venture off to make a new start? Most students have the luxury of having their parents make their minds up for them. Today’s society has to accept that it’s OK if students don’t get their degree in four years or in due time. Traditionally, it’s always been the efficient thing to do, but there are always other options.
*Georgia State University-Perimeter College