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Are Community Colleges Worth It?

I can't decide whether to attend a four year university for academics or attend a community college to play soccer and then transfer after two years. Are community colleges worth it?

- 16 year old female

Short answer: yes! Community colleges are worth it.

Long answer: yes and here’s why. I answer this question as someone who attended community college, a big state university, a private liberal arts college, and eventually got a graduate degree from Yale. So I’ve been through my range of educational forms, which doesn’t even count my teaching experiences at both public and private universities. I took art classes in community college to help me build skills as I figured out what was next for me. I felt a lot of pressure in high school to simply know what was next. Where did I want to go? What did I want to study? Where did I see myself in 5, 10, or 20 years? I had no answers for these questions, not because I didn’t want to do anything, but because I wanted to do everything.

College costs a lot of money. It takes time and focus. If your heart says soccer right now, I’d recommend following that passion and using some time in community college to see if any academic interests also build. By the time you enter a 4-year university, you’ll have a stronger sense of direction and purpose. You’ll know more about what you’re looking for in your education and beyond. I went to community college. I started learning how to draw and paint there.

Taking that time didn’t set me back. It propelled me forward at the right time for me. No regrets.


About The Author: Jacqueline's a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She's on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia where she also takes any writing class they’ll let her into. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says. Her debut novel Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things comes out this December from HMHTeen. You can connect with Jacqueline through her website or on Twitter and Instagram at @jfkillsdarlings.


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A final note: We are strong believers in the power of therapy. We know that this isn't a realistic option for every teenager, since some of you might not have the parental support or extra income necessary to make this happen. But, if possible, please consider therapy. Many of the adults you respect most have benefited from therapy, and it's likely that you will too. There's no shame in getting support. You deserve it.


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