We’ve seen how the image of two-year colleges — whether it’s correct or distorted — causes some Minnesotans to choose four-year colleges instead.
Judging from my survey, some of the reason my be tied into how people view the “college experience.”
Students looking at four-year institutions may want the friendships formed in dorm life, a large alumni network, or may just want to study in a 100-year-old ivy-covered building. In contrast, community college students, some responses suggested, might feel more comfortable — or just not mind — staying at home.
Four-year student Blaine Ponto wrote in:
I feel like a four-year college, for most students, would provide a better experience, but it’s not for everyone. (Community colleges are best for) people who are working (or) want to be at home a lot …..
The only reason I wouldn’t encourage someone to consider a two-year college is if they were interested in a residential experience. Especially at a private institution, these experiences are very beneficial. At state four-year institutions though, the residential experience can often take away, not add to, the learning.
There’s also a view that community/tech colleges don’t have as connected of a student network or support system, and you dont meet as many people as you would in a traditional school setting.
In my opinion, the larger loss is the experience of being with the same group of friends and the same professors for an entire four years. Much of the value of a four-year school is in the relationships and mentoring that occurs.
Sometimes a two-year school is a great next step to get acclimated to life away from home.
We had to do our own research to find two-year colleges that offer a full college experience (dorms, arts, sports, community). I ended up putting together a guide for other parents because no one seemed to know about the residential two-year colleges.
I’ll try to post that guide next week.