Choosing two-year colleges

Megan Davis, Lamp Staff

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Imagine you’re attending a family reunion, and one of your relatives brags about how her daughter will be attending Yale University. Then, she asks you where you will be going next year.

When you tell her, you plan to attend a two-year college because you aren’t ready for a four-year university, she doesn’t understand the decision.

The relative says you have more potential than that.

It’s a similar scenario many recent high school graduates face. There remains a stigma around community colleges and a preference for four-year universities. Talking to students at Lincoln Land Community College, many said they weren’t ready for a four-year university, and others also mentioned the cost-savings offered at the community college.

For Brandon Elliott, Lincoln Land was not his first choice. It wasn’t his second choice, either.

“It was actually my third choice to come here,” Elliott said.

Elliott plans to transfer to a university and earn a master’s degree in nursing, but he found Lincoln Land a good place to start.

“After graduating from Williamsville, I was nervous about having to adapt to a new surrounding like college,” he said. “I’m skeptical of trying new things, so when I looked into Lincoln Land, I felt welcomed.”

Elliott is considering becoming a neurology or pediatric nurse. He is also a member of the National Guard Medics and specializes in evacuation procedures.

Along with the feeling of community, tuition costs were another major factor in the choice of Lincoln Land.

A study by Top Universities said, “At the very top-tier US universities (the majority of which are private non-profits), fees and living costs are likely to add up to around US$60,000 per year”

Most young adults working a part-time job simply cannot afford this amount yearly, causing most to either drop out or use student loans.

Tuition at Lincoln Land is $131.50 a credit hour, and fees are at least $11 per credit hours. While fees can increase based on program, a student can graduate in two years, spending less than $10,000 on tuition and fees.

“Working a part-time job at Memorial Hospital, on top of being a nursing student is very challenging,” said Ashton Bandor, a 2019 Riverton High School graduate. “But if I were at a four-year university, doing the same thing, I wouldn’t have high hopes of graduating.”

Bandor said his hopes are higher with more affordable tuition and a strong community that helps with the challenges of nursing school.

“I also appreciate how community colleges have an option for you to choose how long you want to be here and what suits your lifestyle best,” Bandor said.