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Emma Graves

Mrs. Lohmeyer
English 101
19 February 2017
Is Community College Right For You?
Q. Hello, I am Emma Graves. I have been considering a community college but I
have a lot of questions about them. For my first question, are community colleges
considered as a real colleges?
A. Kristen OKeefe: Hello, Emma. I am Kristen OKeefe and I see a lot of confusion on
this topic from many different people. A community college is as real as the people who
attend them. The credits earned at community colleges can be transferred to other
colleges or lead to a diploma awarded by the community college (par.4).
A. Brian Goedde: I am Brain Goedde, and I used to teach at Washtenaw Community
College in Southeast Michigan. I can agree with OKeefe because a community college
is every bit as real as other universities or colleges. Many people are confused on this,
however, because of the bad public image that community colleges get (par. 7).
Q: Mr. Goedde, could I have you explain a little more on what this bad public
image you mentioned is?
A: Brian Goedde: Sure, when I mention the bad public image of community colleges I
refer to the stigma that the students who go to community colleges are students who
couldnt get into any real colleges (par. 7). The reason many people think this is
because of our open door admissions policy (par. 7).
Q. Thank you, Mr. Goedde and Ms. OKeefe that cleared up a lot of false
information I had heard before. I still have a few more questions though. How are
community college students different from students at other other colleges or
universities?
A. Kristen OKeefe: This is a really good question for me because I did not attend
community college, but I have been able to compare the students that I have taught at
community colleges to my own education elsewhere (par. 5). Most students at
community colleges are part-time students (par. 7). Some can be recent high school
graduates or sometimes much older (par. 7). Many of the students have full time jobs
and families to support, and some are just like the students you would find at any other
university or college but are just looking for a more affordable option (par. 6).
A. Brain Goedde: I think that how the students lives are different outside of campus and
on campus is a noticeable difference but there are also many more important
differences. One of the biggest things I would say is the difference between how the
students and community feel about the college as well as the structure of the student
body of the community college itself (par. 7).
Q. I find that very interesting and it makes it easier to understand where I would
fit in depending on which college I would attend. I am curious about what you
said, Mr. Goedde. Could you and Ms. OKeefe give some more detail on how do
students at community colleges feel about attending them?
A. Brain Goedee: Yes, of course. Overall, I can say that many of my students in the past
have not had an overwhelming sense of pride in their school that many other colleges
and universities get. Many students are ashamed of attending a community college (par.
5).
A. Kristen OKeefe: I see a lot of this in my students as well. I tend to overhear a lot of
apologizing from students when they talk about attending a community college. This is
probably partly because they have heard their community college called out for not
being a real college in the past (par. 10).
Q. Wow that is something that I am glad to have known before I make my choice. I
find it upsetting that many students are not proud of their college, and I definitely
would not want to be one of them. My next question is how does the typical
community college experience compare to that of other college or university
experiences?
A. Kristen OKeefe: In a typical college experience, one might have an experience
similar to mine where I was a fulltime student who was able to graduate in four years
and have a social life. The typical community college experience can much different
because many of the students work full time and go to college part-time. Since college
is not such a main focus in some community college students lives then it might result
in a different experience (pars. 7-8).
A. Brain Goedde: I can agree that there is a difference in the types of students who
attend these colleges and what their experiences are because of it. Besides this, I think
that an experience that many community college students miss out on is the community
and student life experiences. They miss out on experiences such as the large sense of
pride in their logos and mascots. I see many of my students at my community college
wearing sweatshirts and hats of nearby universities but rarely any clothing that
representing the community college that they attended. I think this shows a big part of
the community college experience because the students dont express the same pride
in their school that the students at major universities do. Many community college
students dont express a lot of pride in their student activities and for their school which
can deprive a student of the promised college experience (par. 3).
Q. Now that I know that many students dont have pride in their school, why
should I have pride in my school if I choose to attend a community college?
A. Kristen OKeefe: I hope that if you do attend a community college you can find your
own reasons to be proud of not only the college, but also in your attendance of it. A
community college is something to be proud of because it is a place filled with triumph
for many who never believed they could have a chance to obtain a degree. It is a
diverse group of people all working for a degree against many other factors that might
be working against them. Students who can juggle so many responsibilities and earn a
degree at the same time are impressive and their work is something to be proud of it
(par. 8).
A. Brain Goedde: Ms. OKeefe brings up an interesting point that I do not focus on as
much. I would definitely say that you should have pride in your school no matter where
you go. While many dont have pride in attending community colleges now, there are
many actions in place trying to change the negative image around community colleges
that might be able to give you pride in your school now and later on.
Q. I admire the reasoning that you both gave on why I should have pride in
attending a community college. It not only makes me think that I can have pride in
attending a community college but also that I should have pride in those that I
know who attend community college. For Mr. Goedde, I would like to ask, what
are the changes that are happening to the image of community college?
A. Brain Goedde: Well when I say that there are changes taking place about the image
of community colleges, I refer to what President Obama worked on during his time in
office. President Obama has been able to boost the pride in community colleges with
the support he gives when he addresses community colleges as, unsung heroes of
Americas education system, (par. 1). Much of what he tried to do to help out
community colleges did not work out, such as trying to lower the cost of community
colleges to zero, but he has done wonders as being a cheerleader for the community
college system (par. 2).
A. Kristen OKeefe: While President Obama said this at the White House Summit on
Community Colleges back in 2010, he has not completely repaired the image of
community colleges or the divide between those who believe in community colleges and
those who dismiss and diminish them (Geodde par.1). I can recall that when I wrote my
article on community colleges back in 2015 that was still hearing a lot negativity on the
topic of community colleges (par. 1).
A. Brain Geodde: It is true that President Obamas spirt and pride in community colleges
has not completely gotten rid of the negative public image. I do, however, see a small
positive development in the opinions of those around me on community colleges. I think
that President Obama is changing the negative perception.
Q. It is interesting that you both seem to have different opinions on the work that
is being done to help the negative image of community colleges. I understand
that a big effort would be necessary to change the image completely, but I am
glad to hear that it seems to be improving. Knowing that there is such a bad
public image, I am curious, how many people attend community colleges?
A. Brain Goedde: There are 1,655 community colleges nationwide and 47% of colleges
students that attend a public school attend community colleges (par. 8).
Q. That is a lot more people than I was expecting. Why do you think community
colleges are considered so negatively if so many people attend them?
A. Kristen OKeefe: Well, I think this is because many people do not believe in the
authenticity community colleges. This is mostly because community colleges dont pride
themselves on the low acceptance rates that many other colleges and universities do.
Instead they have high acceptance rates so they can make themselves available to
many types of students (par. 1).
A. Brain Goedde: I can agree that the high acceptance rates are a part of the negative
public image, as I said before, but I wish it wouldnt be because these high acceptance
rates do allow many students to go to college. The open door admissions policy leads
to the idea that community colleges are not as good because they are easier to get into.
When you consider if you will go to a community college, I urge you not to choose solely
based on this negative opinion that most people have (par. 7).
Q. Emma Graves: Thank you Kristen OKeefe and Brain Goedee. Thats all of the
questions I have for now but I think I want to look into community colleges more
so that I can consider my options with them. Before asking these questions
today, I had no idea about the amount of people who attend community colleges. I
also had fairly negative views on attending community college based on the
negative image that surrounds it. Now that I have my questions answered, I am
able to understand why there is such a negative image with community colleges
and that I need to be able to consider my options without focusing on this image.
I am left torn between these two options because I am aware that community
college is a more affordable option, and in some ways the better option too, but I
also find having a college experience important. I am glad that I now have a
clearer view of what the student experience at a community college is so that I
can make the best decision. Thank you again for answering my questions. It has
really opened my eyes to the options I have in front of me.
Work Cited
O' Keefe, Kristin. "The Community College/ "Real College" Divide." New York Times. 11
Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Goedde, Brain. Talk to Us, Mr. President. They Say I Blog. W.W. Norton & Company,
Inc. 13 May 2016. Web. 10 February 2017.

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