The Benefits of Community College

barnstable high schoolCollege, is it really worth the crushing debt?

As someone who just started their senior year of high school I can say I have very seriously asked myself this question many times over the past couple months. My parents, as much as I love them, have never been very financially responsible, so it really wasn’t a surprise to me when they said I’d be funding my college experience on my own.

I’ve explored the options, looked up every scholarship in existence and plan on applying for all the ones I qualify for. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe a four year college or state university just isn’t in my budget right now, regardless of federal assistance or any possible scholarships. Therefore, after talking to my school counselor, asking several of my friends currently enrolled there, and erasing the stigma from my mind that community colleges are bad, I have decided to get my Associate’s degree from Cape Cod Community College.

Not only does this allow me time to transition from high school into the real world, it saves me a boat load of cash, and allows me a more flexible schedule so I can work and earn money rather than waste four consecutive years spending mountains of money. On average community college tuition is generally half that of a public university, plus you save the $15,000 or so that you would be spending to live on campus, while attaining the same quality education. In addition to that I can start to build some professional experience due to my more flexible schedule. I won’t be bogged down with five or six classes, forced to live in a dorm with someone I could possibly hate, and I won’t have to waste all my time and money on campus. I can continue to live right here at home and save money for when I go on to earn my Bachelor’s degree.

Perhaps I can get an entry level job in a field I wish to advance in once I receive my Bachelor’s? Or I can intern in that field while working a part-time job to pay the bills and save for college. Then, once I am prepared in every sense of the word, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly, FINANCIALLY; then I can transfer to a four year state university and complete my Bachelor’s degree there. Why does it matter where my Associate’s degree comes from? My Bachelor’s degree will still read whatever college I choose to go to.

I think the reason many students are apprehensive about attending their local community college is due, in part, to their teachers, their parents, and social stereotypes. Community colleges get a bad rep, it’s as simple as that. They are thought to be less serious than a public or private university, they are thought to have lesser professors, and they are seen as a last resort for those of us who didn’t do too hot in high school. Teachers have told us since elementary school that we “better do good unless you want to go to community college” while parents echo the same sentiments. However more and more students are breaking away from these stereotypes and choosing to go to community colleges anyway. According to Phil Izzo of the Wall Street Journal, a study conducted by Mark Kantrowitz on government data, proves that the class of 2014 graduated from college as the most indebted class ever, with some $33,000 to pay back. Seems like a pretty good reason to stop caring about the stereotypes associated with community college to me. I can only hope that my peers who will be graduating from college in the class of 2020 don’t break that record.

By KAITLYN HOLZWORTH, Intern and Barnstable High School Student


  1. An excellent well researched choice! Good for you not to find I der the pressure to go into extreme debt. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

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