Lauren Nicolella and Avi Cantor
At the beginning of senior year, my mom and I met with college counselor Karina Hirschfield. The focal point of the meeting was to figure out what kind of college would be the best fit for me.
By the end of the meeting, Hirschfield gave me a list of small, expensive liberal arts colleges, all of which were in small suburbs or rural outskirts of the bustling city.
Exempt from that list was the Community College of Philadelphia. At first thought, CCP may not seem like a considerable option for those who are serious about their education. There is no minimum GPA for admittance and you may not even need a high school diploma to go there.
But as colleges and universities get more and more expensive, CCP’s reputation is starting to improve. One student who’s going to CCP is senior Lauren Nicolella. Her story is below:
Last year I made the decision that I would attend community college instead of a traditional four-year school. As I have progressed through high school, I’ve been torn about this new chapter of my life.
But after speaking to more adults about the college process and my future plans, I have been pleasantly surprised by their optimism.
I’ve been told personal stories about relatives and friends who have chosen the same path and ended up at a university that didn’t cost them nearly as much as it would have.
However, the stigma surrounding who goes to community college and who doesn’t still haunts me.
Throughout the past year, I’ve noticed the lack of work ethic, participation, and determination from the underclassmen. I’ve observed sophomores and juniors constantly letting their assignments and grades fall by the wayside.
To add insult to injury, the students who are exhibiting these traits are saying that they’ll just fail and go to CCP. This outlook really pains me.
During junior year, I worked hard no matter where I was going to go. I dealt with the loss of a family member throughout the year, but my grades always turned out good despite the issues I was facing.
I soon grew to realize that attending community college would be a great starting opportunity, and it should not be something to take for granted or be talked down about. I’m not completely sure of what I want to major in, but CCP is giving me a less stressful opportunity by providing the necessary classes I’d have to take at a four-year college. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way.
There are people who constantly bash community college, claiming that it is for “dumb” people, yet it’s starting to be recognized as a viable option for education. Given the state of America’s student loan debt sitting in the trillions, I’m trying to be as financially responsible as possible while also receiving a quality education.
I’m hoping the best for these upcoming students because I hope they realize that they won’t have the help from their senior assistant teachers to check them back into reality. I want them to be able to go to their desired college, and not freak out during senior year when they reflect on their poor work ethic.
I want people to see CCP as a financially feasible option for people who want to find themselves. The stigma is actively changing, and it should be an option talked about more in high schools as students are going through the application process. In the end, it’s my money and my life that I’m choosing for and it’s not fair to be judged based on those decisions.
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