Community colleges fail to provide beneficial resources to students

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Community colleges fail to provide beneficial resources to students

PHOTO BY MIKE LINKSVAYER/FLICKR

PHOTO BY MIKE LINKSVAYER/FLICKR

PHOTO BY MIKE LINKSVAYER/FLICKR

By Allison Pelland, CONTRIBUTOR

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Community colleges provide equitable opportunities for college degree attainment. They are a stepping stone to a Bachelor’s degree, which is increasingly necessary to attain a middle-class lifestyle.
Although community colleges have their perks, such as being cheaper and close to home, the institutions place hurdles in front of their students, slowing them down on their path to success.
Counselors are entrusted to help students overcome the barriers to their success. Counseling is essential in college. However, at the community college level, there are not enough counselors to meet student demand. This results in students choosing the earliest appointments because they are always weeks out, especially at the beginning of a term.
Community college counseling is unique in a sense, because there is absolutely no structure in terms of which students meet with which counselors. Students can visit two counselors who will tell them two different things.
Communication goes beyond counselor and student interaction. Students are often told to use websites, such as assist.org, to tell them what courses they need to take, despite it not being completely accurate and up to date. Also, students are directed toward online resources, such as catalogs, that describe certain majors and degrees, but the information fails to be accurate and up to date.
As someone who did not know what to do after high school, I found myself switching my major around. Those extra major classes, incorrect classes from assist.org, and random general education classes I took just for the requirement put me behind. Now I am a fifth-year college student, going back to my community college, and taking twenty-one units this fall, just to graduate this coming year.
Many people attending community college have a lot going on in their lives, whether it be a job or family. Figuring out how to navigate the college system, such as applications and requirements can be difficult and time-consuming, all the more reason to have programs to help out students. However, community colleges lack outreach programs. The extent of outreach is typically a job fair, but there needs to be programs that make students comfortable, rather than put themselves out there.
Community college is excellent in many ways, but it is time for the system to be structured to help those of all backgrounds. It is time to take action, to create a school environment that helps the incoming freshmen, the mom who decided she was ready to go back to school, and everyone in between. It is time to improve transfer rates and decrease dropout rates. It all begins with outreach and productive structure within schools.