Community college is an option many high school students and adults do not consider when they think about their education options. Often overlooked, they turn instead to four-year universities and vocational schools, glossing over the cheaper but just as important option. I asked a variety of Tri-C students about what influenced their decision to become a Tri-C student and more about their experiences.
I started by asking all of them if they were CCP students or not. For those of you who do not know, CCP means College Credit Plus, and it is a program where middle and high school students take college classes for free through the state to get college credit at a younger age and save money in the future by paying for less credits. In my group of six, five of them said they are CCP students, with only one saying they are not. The student who is not currently CCP, however, said they are a former CCP student who continued on at Tri-C after their graduation.
The majors the students have chosen vary greatly, including illustration, nursing, chemistry, and a few undecided. The variety of majors represented in such a small group really showcases the spread of options you have here at Tri-C.
Students also responded to my question of why they started at Tri-C. Jessica Plogger, a CCP student at Eastern and Westshore campuses, says she started to get college credit for free while in high school. The benefits, according to her, are that “I’ve been able to get most of my fundamental classes done at no cost, whereas if I waited until college I would’ve had to pay not only for the credit hours, but the books as well.” Anthony Koonce, a CCP student at Eastern, says he was “definitely pushed out of my academic comfort zone while here. I got a head start on college level subjects… the high expectations helped me gain independent learning skills, which in turn helped me with my regular high school level work.”
I asked the group to anonymously tell me what the drawbacks of Tri-C have been for them in the spirit of hearing the whole picture. Two students said there have been none, and they could not think of any. The registration process was brought up by several as being difficult to manage and overly challenging to complete, while others raised concerns about the online teaching not being successful for their teachers, and lamented the downturn in quality.
Finally, I asked them what they would say to someone who was on the fence about joining Tri-C. Lydia Rabne from the Westshore campus said “I would totally go for it. It is so smart as a stepping stone for your career, and it is so cost-effective.” A student who wished to remain anonymous said they would encourage students to attend Tri-C no matter their career path, “even if it’s just to get math or English out of the way”. Jessica agreed, saying that “with such a wide variety of courses, there’s bound to be something you’ll enjoy”.
Overall, the experiences these students have had at Tri-C represent, to me, why community college should be a much bigger option for anyone who wants to further their education. The benefits of joining, as the students profess, are so great that it seems a simple decision.