My name is Alison Allocco, I am a student at County College of Morris in Randolph and a resident of Long Hill Township. My honor society, the Alpha Kappa Kappa Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, is conducting research on how the negative stigma surrounding community college affects enrollment and retention rates.
With that being said...
Do you attend a two-year community college? Have you previously attended a two-year community college?
If so, please consider taking our survey about the community college experience. It would be greatly appreciated! Click here to take our survey.
Every year my honor society is asked to complete a research project on a topic of our choice based on one of assigned 8 themes - this year, we chose the theme "Myth and Reality." A topic that continued to come up amongst my executive board and myself was the negative stigma around attending a two-year college. We discussed that there is a societal pressure to attend the best possible university straight out of high school, even if a student isn't positive what career path they want to follow. This often times leads to students coming home from these prestigious universities, parents wasting thousands of dollars, and a general sense of discouragement for the student.
A lot of people have the misconception that community college is just "the 13th grade" or that it isn't "real college." For myself, community college was an opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do with my life while saving thousands of dollars and boosting my GPA to seem more appealing to four year universities. Now, I have the experience of being the president of my college's chapter of the international honor society of two year colleges. I have had countless amazing opportunities all thanks to attending a community college out of high school.
Although a big part of our project is conducting the actual research, we are encouraged to take action in our communities to support our project. For this reason, we are trying to hold assemblies in high schools throughout New Jersey to discuss our experiences as community college students as well as the benefits of attending community college.
Even if you aren't qualified to take our survey, at least consider having a conversation with your child about attending community college. I was dreading going to community college as a senior in high school. I remember the embarrassment I felt whenever I was asked what college I would be attending. Now, I realize there was nothing to be embarrassed about. The reality is that going to community college was the best decision I have ever made. I will be graduating with an associates degree this semester with high honors and no debt. I plan to attend Rutgers University in the spring to pursue my dream of becoming a physicians assistant.
Remember, it isn't about where you start - it's about where you finish.