The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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Normalize Junior College

LT needs to break the stigma around enrolling in community college.

With college application season at its peak, authoritative voices plague the minds of young students. Phrases like, “You’re so smart, why waste your potential?” and “Are you sure you want to go there?” are thrown in the faces of those who choose a junior college over a traditional four-year institution. 

This is a continual factor that regularly affects where seniors feel it is acceptable to continue their education—the community college stigma.

When parents, teachers, and peers get in your ear about the loss of the “true college experience,” community college becomes more of an overlooked “last resort” for students. Some can feel ashamed that it is their start in their post-secondary education. Others feel as if they are receiving a lesser education than those attending a four year university. As a community, bringing forward the benefits of community college can eliminate the need to lie about where you’re studying after high school. 

Community colleges serve as educational hubs where individual students of all backgrounds can access quality education without the burden of extreme tuition fees. In general, community colleges cost an average $3,862 in tuition per year. Compared to the average annual tuition cost for public four-year universities for in-state students of $9,377, that is significantly more inclusive to those who may need to consider the financial aspect more than others.

With that cost comes classes that are just as high caliber as traditional four-year university classes. They offer the same level of rigor and education as your typical university, but with notably smaller class sizes. At four-year colleges, numbers tend to be higher which can make it difficult to receive individualized assistance. In junior colleges, the class sizes tend to have fewer students, making personalized help more accessible. 

These institutions also play a pivotal role in bridging the skills gap in our workforce. Technical programs offered at these colleges are designed in collaboration with industry needs in mind. These schools encourage students to diversify their interests and stray away from traditional sit-down learning by offering trades and other professional skill-building opportunities. 

Public high schools are bound to encourage students to apply to four year colleges in order to “boost their stats,” but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. The beauty of the college process is being able to make your own decisions to live with and grow into. It may seem like you’re being pressured to choose an option that isn’t right for you, but becoming more sure of your choice is key to not letting others’ words affect your mindset. 

By dismantling the stigma, we pave the way for a society that values the diversity of educational pathways and fosters an inclusive environment where everyone’s choices are celebrated. 

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