Four Year College… Is It Still Realistic?

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Four Year College… Is It Still Realistic?

Kenzie Mikeska, Editor

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Ever since Kindergarten, children are groomed towards one single goal: to eventually graduate high school, and go to college. Elementary school, intermediate school, junior high, high school, all thirteen years of schooling to eventually graduate and be accepted into a four year college. But is the traditional four year route really the best for everyone?
Going the traditional, four year college route is a universally accepted expectation for all high school students. Doing community college for one or two years or even going to a trade school instead of college are rarely ever talked about as viable options for students after high school, yet for some people going the un-traditional route is the smartest path.

“I think community college is a good option for those who can’t afford to go to university,” Sydney Steingas said. Sydney graduated from Friendswood in 2018 and attends San Jacinto community college.

Four year colleges are expensive. When you add in tuition, the cost of housing, meal plans, textbooks, etc., it adds up to a price that a lot of families can’t afford, not to mention that it’s not even thinkable for students who have to pay their own tuition.

“Community college is a lot cheaper,” senior Macy Tannos, who plans on attending San Jacinto Community College next year, said. “Even if I could pull a full year college, I don’t know why I would go to a four year college and pay more money to do the same thing at a two year college first.”

It is also to be taken to account that when kids graduate high school, they’re usually 17 or 18. That’s a very young age to be making such an important life decision. How can you expect an 18 year old to know what they want to do with the rest of their life? Going to community college for two years can give a student time to mature more and develop a better idea of what they want to do with the rest of their life, and then when they go to a university for the last two years, those years aren’t wasted because they know what they want to do.

“I’m going to community college because it will be a lot less stressful for me,” senior Meredith Hoskens said. “It gives me more time to focus on what I want to do, because I don’t know yet. I’m 17, it’s a lot of pressure to know what I want to do with my life at this young of an age.”

When you go to a community college, you are sacrificing the experiences that you would get at a four year college. Feeling like they need to have these experiences is what often pushes students toward a four year university: college parties, football games, and greek life all being examples of this.

“Community college doesn’t have the same sense of pride that comes with going to a four year university,” Steingas said. “I see all of my friends in sororities and going to football games and I feel like I’m missing out.”

We’ve been conditioned to believe that attending a four year university straight out of high school is the best way of doing things, but the times have changed. College is much more expensive than in the past, and it’s getting increasingly harder to get into. It’s time that we reevaluate the traditional ways of doing things and accept the new reality that going to a four year college is not the best choice for a lot more students than society is willing to acknowledge.