Four year college versus community college to a four year college

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Courtesy of UC Santa Barbara

Brenna Claus, Sports Editor

What do you want to do after you graduate high school? Do you want to go to college, enlist in the military or do you want to go to trade school? When this chapter of my life ends, another one opens: college. The pressure to go to college is intense, let alone a four year university. Our junior year we have to seriously get an idea about where we want to go to college. We spend the first semester of our senior year getting letters of recommendation and filling out college applications. Now, we’re spending the second semester wondering which university wants us in their program. I have never felt so anxious in my life waiting for an e-mail or letter, the letter that determines the next four years of my life.

A four year university and community college are two totally different places. What is your image of a four year university? When I think about a university, I think about a big, beautiful campus filled with students eager to learn and socialize. I also think about the crazy college experience I would have if I went to one. If you go to a four year, chances are you know what you want to major/minor in.

There are many four year universities throughout the United States. Most of us will apply to CSUs, UCs and private universities, since we live in California. Though, it doesn’t hurt to broaden our choices and look out of state too.

Maybe you’re wondering what it will be like attending a university. Recent graduate and current San Jose State University (SJSU) student Natalia Bijak shed some light on her college experience. Bijak said, “[My college experience has been] Amazing! I’ve had a great time and made a lot of good friends. The whole college vibe is different, but I like it. Being on your own is something you have to get used to. I hear it can make or break you. Being in an environment that’s comfortable to me and being with people who share the same goals and interests as me made my first semester easy for me… and a lot of fun! Despite not loving the idea of SJSU initially, I am now so thankful I ended up where I am and would not change anything about it.”

Have you ever considered living in the dorms? Recent graduate and current University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) student Brandon Church lives in the dorms. When asked about living on campus, Church said, “Living on campus is everything! When you live on campus you are able to participate in a lot more of the school events than if you live off campus. I have only lived on campus so it’s hard to say what it’s like off campus, but I have heard from other students that you aren’t nearly as involved with university events as if you lived on campus. Also living on campus your first year is how you meet the most people. Almost all of the people I have met this year have been because they live in the same building as me. Living off campus makes it a lot harder to have a social life. Another thing about the dorms is there is help sessions and people there to help you with a class if you are struggling.”

Now, the really big question is, are you ready to take on college? I know for sure that I am not nearly prepared as I should be. College seems like a whole different dimension compared to high school. When Kate Bell, recent graduate and current UC Santa Barbara student, was asked to give advice on college preparation, she said, “Start playing the lottery early on so that you’ll be able to pay for tuition. Just kidding (not really). But seriously, an important preparation for college is mentality. You have to be ready to work, you have to be willing to put in the effort, you have to go in with the expectation that it isn’t going to be easy. If you have that kind of mindset, once you get there you’ll be ready for anything. Mental prep is key. Besides going to classes in high school (an extra boost in AP courses) and doing the work, there’s not much else I can think of. There’s no secret advice I have to get anyone fully prepared.”

Are you a senior? Have you already applied to your top choice colleges? Did you apply to a four year university? Here are some pros and cons of going to a four year university.

Pros:

  • Make life-long friends
  • Make your own schedule
  • Different environment
  • Study what you want
  • On campus employment
  • Challenging courses
  • More job opportunity in the real world
  • Broader range of classes

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Have to be really responsible
  • Missing class is on you
  • Might be on your own
  • Availability of classes
  • Accessibility of professors