By the time I was a junior in high school, I already had the next ten years of my life planned out. I had been taking AP classes, getting almost straight A's, and joining as many clubs as I could all so I could accomplish one thing: getting into my dream school. This was my ultimate goal; attend my dream school while majoring in pre-medicine. Then I would graduate with honors, get accepted to one of the best graduate schools, and move on to become a great doctor. So, when I was accepted to my dream school in October I threw all my other options away and focused entirely on this school. I paid my commitment deposit, signed up for an orientation date, and even found myself a roommate. My parents, however, were a little more skeptical about my decision. They did not have a ton of money to help me pay for the expenses of college and I was naive about just how much it could cost. I had received a full tuition scholarship, but I did not have any extra money to cover the other costs of attending. It was not until the summer started coming to a close that I really looked at my financial aid package. I saw my scholarship, but then I saw the extra $10,000 I needed. This was when I really started to panic. The only way I could afford to go to this university was by taking out $10,000 in student loans - PER YEAR. I could not do this yet. I was only 18! I would have to take out even more loans to make it all the way through grad school. At this point I was starting to think medicine was not the field I wanted to go in, so at the last minute I cancelled my enrollment and applied to a local community college.
I was devastated. I felt like my entire life plan had come to an end and I was completely lost. When I started taking classes I felt like I was just doing it to keep my life moving. Then I discovered something I really enjoyed: writing. I had a great teacher for my English 1102 class who really pushed me. I ended up with an almost perfect score on my research paper and was accepted into the English Honor Society, Sigma Kappa Delta. Now I have another goal in my life – I want to become a journalist. I also met some of the most interesting people at this local college. I met a kind retired lady who had come back to college just to take classes she always wanted to take. I also met people just like me, who were scared to go on to a bigger university or could not find a way to pay for it. Two-year schools are a lot of the time overlooked. Many seniors in high school view these as their last resort if they are not accepted anywhere else. I think this a huge mistake.
Staying home for a year or two and attending a two-year school has many amazing benefits. First, and most importantly, you are saving a ton of money. Also most students do not start their major classes until around their junior year so for the first two years you will be taking core classes. At a larger university these classes are filled with around 100 students. At a community college you take classes with around 20 students. This gives you a more personalized interaction with professors that are just as good. Also it can help you figure out what it is that you are interested in doing for the rest of your life. So if you are a senior in high school, I would recommend that you at least consider attending a two year school – it really helped me.
Lead Image Credit: maricopa.edu