Community College or University? Students Explain Their Choices


Courtesy of Preethi Keerthipati

Senior Preethi Keerthipati stands in front of one of the many structures that don UT’s campus.

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

Choosing where one wants to go to college is a large step in coming into adulthood. Many students have been procuring acceptances from colleges around the world, struggling to decide which college they should go to, however, some students forget that there is another option: Austin Community College (ACC).

While community college is often looked at as a second choice, it is becoming more common for students to pick them over a university, as senior Daniela Miguel-Borrego is doing.

“I am choosing ACC because I want to save money,” Miguel-Borrego said. “I don’t want to drown in debt so early in life, and I would like to take the classes that are not required in my major. I also save money in living expenses since my parents are willing to let me stay with them. I feel that by doing this I acquire more practice in adult-ing.”

One of the reasons that students feel the pressure to go to a four-year university is because of the college experience that is harder to get at a two-year institute, but Miguel-Borrego does not feel like that will be a problem.

“I do not think I will be missing out a lot,” Miguel-Borrego said. “Even though I will not experience the ‘campus life’ yet, I feel that I will be able to adjust to college-course requirements easily in a familiar environment. Also, I plan to transfer later on, so I will be able to experience both eventually.”

Though, for some, the opportunities given by a four-year institute is why university is better, according to senior Preethi Keerthipati who is thinking about attending the University of Texas in the fall.

“I wanted to get the college experience, get a bachelor’s degree and it’s easier to get a higher paying job if you have a four-year degree,” Keerthipati said. “Also, I’m going to medical school, so I need to go to a university. Community college is fine and it’s good if you want an affordable education. But I like college better you get the opportunity to stay in a dorm and have access to more organizations.”

Junior Jessica Mick shares parts of Keerthipati’s view, citing that living by one’s self is really the appeal.

“I’m planning on going to a university rather than ACC because I really want the experience of living on my own and moving out,” Mick said. “There are so many experiences and so much growth that you get when you attend a university so I’m really excited for that.”

While each student must factor in price, personal needs and what’s best for what they want to pursue, Miguel-Borrego firmly believes that attending ACC, even if it is just for two-years before transferring is a viable route. The hesitant feelings that students tend to have towards community college is simply a stigma to a great education.

“I think there are three reasons why students feel this way,” Miguel-Borrego said. “One, some students are desperate to get out of their houses and parents and want to start living on their own as quickly as possible. Two, many may think that because it is community college and it is cheaper, it is not as good as other schools or not as recognized as other schools. Three, many people may not be informed enough and do not feel the magnitude of how long they will be in debt for only four years.”