Sharing real thoughts about community college

LaMon Jones is serving this fall as the teen editor-in-chief of the Durham VOICE. He is a 2016 graduate of Jordan High School, currently attending Durham Tech. (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)


 

There is a level of perception when it comes to community colleges that they are not as good as four-year schools.

I decided to question one of my long-time friends who just started a semester at Durham Tech about the school in general and its level of education.

My first impression about places on campus was that it would be hard for me to find the classroom I needed to go to — college is different from high school in that things are spread out all over the place.  I also wondered about the people.

What are they like?

So far people attending Durham Tech that I have met are quite mature, friendly and willing to talk to anyone about anything relatable.

I spoke with Gwen Payne who used to work with me at the Durham VOICE about her experiences so far. One of the stereotypes I have heard about community college is that professors and students are of lower quality than four-year colleges.

This is untrue.

One thing that stood out to Payne is that teachers at the college are straightforward.

“They don’t sugar coat anything and stay up to date with everything that’s going on in their classes,” she said. “In my honest opinion this is how all educators should be.”

A degree in teaching any college class is an accomplishment and no matter where they decide to work, the fact that a professor has the degree puts that person on equal terms with almost any other professor at a four-year institution.

Another plus for attending community college I found is that there is a wide range of classes to fit almost any career goal. From the basics like English 111 and Introduction to Computers to more advanced courses like biology and anatomy labs to those that help in everyday life like ACA (Introduction to College Life) and even communication classes there is a host of unique subjects to study.

They even have massage therapy! The possibilities are practically limitless with where you could go after taking any of the wide arrays of classes offered at Durham Tech.

Going to a community college is different from high school in many ways and attending Durham Tech, I believe, would be much easier than high school. There is less drama with students (since they should be more mature) and you just have to keep up with the lectures and class work to pass classes.

Money is also a strong incentive to attend a community college.

Many people in the community don’t have the money for a four-year university and opt into a two-year community college to save cash while getting the same level of education.

As a freshman or sophomore you have to take the same courses as at almost any other school but they cost much more money. I think choosing to attend community college first saves tons of money over the years.

And even if money is still an issue, applying for financial aid is easy — you simply fill out a FAFSA form, turn it in and wait on the awards letter telling you what kind of aid you will have.

As a person interested in both higher learning and the military, community colleges are equal if not better in some aspects than a four-year university. I believe each institution in itself has its own strong points, however when it comes down to affordability, level of education and personal preference I would pick Durham Tech over a four-year university. It would help adjusting to getting out of high school without the hassle of committing to four years to further education. For me and other people I know this is often the best option.

LaMon Jones, the Teen Editor-in-Chief of the VOICE, is a 2016 Jordan High School grad and is attending Durham Tech this fall. He is also an intern with Partners for Youth Opportunity.