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Community College? You must be stupid.


Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU. Has 14 years experience.

So, tonight I was talking about the classes I'll be taking this fall at my local community college (one of which is chemistry which I'm a little nervous about since I've never had a chemistry class before) with my wonderful bachelor's degree holding partner who, in an attempt to ease my anxiety makes the comment "Well, it's just at a community college so the class should be pretty easy." :madface: Wrong thing to say honey...

It did however get me to thinking about the general attitudes that people have towards not only community colleges but also to vocational/trade schools. That those of us who go to such institutions are intellectually inadequate and wouldn't be able to handle the academic rigors of a 4 year college or university. This attitude is completely inaccurate, after all if my classes were so EASY then the 4 year colleges and universities in my area wouldn't have an articulation agreement which honors the credits I take at the community college. It is a different atmosphere in a community college of course, but that doesn't mean I don't have to learn the material and learn it well in order to pass.

I remember in high school when I decided to enter the Practical Nursing program at the vocational school how I received criticism, statements such as "Well, you need to go to a 4 year college, anything less is for people who are stupid." and even now when I tell people I'm an LPN and that I've been at a community college taking classes I'm greeted with a concerned expression, a half smile, and a polite nod. A voice bubble might as well pop up above their head saying, "Well, since you're a failure at life and this is all you have, I'll be happy for you." after all since I'm going to a community college it means I can't handle REAL academics.

It may sound as though I'm jealous of those who get to receive a university education and have a bachelor's degree or above and are the same age as myself. And, yes, at times I am jealous because I would have loved to have had the same experience. But that simply just wasn't my path, one day I will "pull my time" in a four year college, my path will take me there, just not yet.

I believe no matter your credentials, whether you're doctorate degree holding FNP or a certificate holding CNA that you should be incredibly proud. Whether you're bachelor's prepared RN or a diploma holding LPN you should be proud. Because all levels of education should be revered and respected and valued. I don't feel ashamed of not already being a Registered Nurse or a college graduate nor do I have any regret at first becoming a CNA and then becoming an LPN because I still am helping people and I am still living my dream and that dream was to be independent. If you're a BSN or an ADN be PROUD of it no matter what your credentials are because you earned them.

College graduates face really discouraging odds. Many are unemployed, many more are employed in something other than their field of study, and many still are up to their eyeballs in debt. My partner for instance has a bachelor's degree yet works in job making a little over minimum wage. That is why I chose the path I did. When I was 17 and I enrolled in the LPN program, I knew due to my personal and financial circumstances that I couldn't afford to go to college just yet, I needed to be self sufficient and going to a trade school and later to a community college would allow me to do that. It wasn't the right choice for everyone but it was for me, and because of that I can pay for my school one semester at a time while minimizing and most semesters avoiding student loans, not to mention a few years head start on 401k versus my peers and that feels really good.

A dear friend of mine always wanted to be a mechanic, her family, peers, etc were not supportive "only stupid people do something like that" so instead she got 2 bachelor's degrees, is jobless, and owes thousands of dollars in student loans. All this because her dream was too "stupid" in the eyes of her parents and everyone else. Side not, I know many mechanics who make more money than I do and they're all pretty happy. I think the attitude that you go to college to "make a better life for yourself" isn't always accurate. We shouldn't be telling our children that they have to go to college in order to be considered intelligent or successful. We should be telling them that in this world success isn't defined by your credentials or where you went to school or how much money you make, it's defined by getting out of life what you make of it and what you want from it. Do what you love people, whether you're a CNA or a Medical Doctor, do what you love and love what you do and be proud but above all else never assume that someone is stupid simply because their education is different from yours.

Whew... feels good to get that out.

Oh and my partner quickly apologized for what he said. Probably had something to do with the fact I spouted off this little speech in the course of sixty seconds after his comment. :smokin:

AMEN! I could not agree more. I do not do well with the "better than thou b/c I have better degree" types.

I certainly won't feel stupid when I graduate from my community college and pass the same nclex the same university student has to pass at oh, just a few $1000 cheaper. :)

kalevra, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, Telemetry,Hospice, ICU, Supervisor. Has 5 years experience.

There is nothing wrong with going to a C.C, many University graduates start out at a C.C to get those transfer units wihtout paying $300 a unit. Makes complete financial sense to most people. As for the general education classes like Art Appreciation, English Comprehension for College, and Intro to Statistics they are pretty easy. Many of the gen eds no matter where you go aren't hard. Now you walk into heavy sciences with wet labs designed for major requirements like Biochemistry and Advanced Physics and the game changes. Gone are the days of public speaking, and literature through film. I miss art appreciation, especially when your instructor is one of those neo-hippies. lol.


Specializes in Psych.

I did 3 years at a university making deans list and then got my ADN at a community college. I totally agree. I love the age differences in a community college and (sometimes) the smaller classes. The only thing that brought me to a CC was the lack of a nursing program at my university. My saying is "if you haven't done it then by all means DON'T tell ME about it"

linearthinker, DNP, RN

Specializes in FNP. Has 25 years experience.

I agree with a lot of what you said, but most courses at most CC are certainly less rigorous than the same courses at most Universities. That doesn't mean those of us that took them there weren't smart enough to take them elsewhere. We make our choices for a variety of reasons. I really don't care why other people make the choices they do, nor do I care to justify my choices to others. I have worked hard, I am proud of my achievements. I hope all others can say the same, but at the end of the day, I am really not all that interested in what you (generic "you") did, where you did it or how you feel about it and I don't understand why you (generic again) would care what I or anyone else thinks either.

Make the best choices for you and to he!! with what the rest of the world thinks about it. Seriously.

I got my first degree, a bachelors degree, from a 4 year university. I am now in nursing school at a community college. During my 4 year degree, I took summer classes at the community college. Most of my classes at the community college had the same professor as the 4 year university, followed the same rigor of study, used the same tests, and used the same textbooks.

The CC can make things easier because typically classes are smaller and the teachers aren't spending 90% of their time doing research so they are more readily available to teach you and help outside of class. However, I would not say that any CC class I have taken so far was any easier than an equivalent course at the 4 year university. We obviously cannot compare 400 level courses with 200 level courses, but you see my point :)

Two thumbs up for the CC students :-D

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

My community college ADN got me farther than my university BA did. Unfortunately, a growing number of hospitals in my area are only hiring BSNs (when they hire at all).


Specializes in LTC, medsurg. Has 10 years experience.

I think going to a CC is SMART! Look at the money you're saving over the University costs!! There wasn't anything easy about the CC I went to. The classes were very challenging and the waiting list very long to get in the ADN.

cherrybreeze, ADN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I received a similar spiel from my guidance counselor in high school, when she asked about my plans after graduation and I told them I was going to _____ _____ Technical College to get my ADN.

"But you're a smart girl, why don't you do to a 4 year school?"

Um, because I have to continue to work full time? Because my mom, despite the fact that she works hard and would like to, doesn't make enough money to help me pay for tuition and my dad is an arse that wouldn't help me, even if I stooped low enough to ask him? (The most money he ever *gave* me, beyond what was court ordered in terms of child support, was $75 bucks towards my senior pictures....when my siblings and I were kids, he wouldn't even lend us 50 cents to buy a soda at my brother's football games...."When will I get paid back? I'd have to charge you interest!")

It was the most feasible option for me at the time, and in no way had anything to do with my intelligence. That was one of the most insulting statements I've ever heard, given the implications, since I had put a LOT of thought in to my post-high school plans.

Limbic System

Specializes in Urgent Care.

I totally understand! I've been attending the local CC since I was 14 (summer after my freshman year of high school). I attended UC Berkeley straight out of high school and finished a BA in 3 years, graduating with a 3.8 GPA (making the Dean's List a couple of times).

Now I'm back at that very same CC taking pre-reqs for either a ABSN or a DEMSN program. CC-level science courses are no joke. The majority of the students in the anatomy and physio classes at my school are either pre-nursing or pre-pharm. Most are career changers, many already have advanced degrees, and nearly all are hard-working and devoted students. They certainly aren't stupid. Honestly, I can't say the same about a lot of the people I'd met during my undergraduate career.

Regardless of what others think, I'm glad I'm taking my pre-reqs at a CC. Not only is tuition less expensive, classes are smaller which contributes to a better learning experience.

I went to a community college myself, and several years ago. Just the other day I had a question regarding my classes and I called up the college and got to talk to someone right then and there. My very first nursing instructor, who remembered me, answered my question, shot the breeze a bit, and hung up. Does this happen in a University when there are lots of students in each class and the instructors do not know one from another? I :heartbeat my CC degree!

From my personal experience, having attended a 4yr Uni and my local CC, I have to say that my CC's courses are actually HARDER than the Uni a was at.

Before I transitioned into nursing as a second career I worked in a energy and soul-sucking job that my B.S. degree got me, and was bringing in around $45,000. I got some surprised looks and snarky comments from some of my peers when I decided to pursue an ADN at the local CC. Now that I am making nearly $60,000 (with overtime) and have four days a week off they aren't laughing any longer.


Specializes in None.

Before I transitioned into nursing as a second career I worked in a energy and soul-sucking job that my B.S. degree got me, and was bringing in around $45,000. I got some surprised looks and snarky comments from some of my peers when I decided to pursue an ADN at the local CC. Now that I am making nearly $60,000 (with overtime) and have four days a week off they aren't laughing any longer.

See something i am definitely looking forward to very much.....


Specializes in SICU. Has 10 years experience.

Heard this constantly from my cousin...

Until she had to take chemistry as a transfer class at my CC....

She failed flat! had to withdraw....

Never heard that sentiment from her again....


Specializes in L&D; GI; Fam Med; Home H; Case mgmt. Has 13 years experience.

Hey, I'm a stupid Community College grad! > :D

Actually, it was plenty hard and I passed NCLEX first try w. 75 questions. Community College is what you make of it. Yes, there may be some substandard teachers, but there are also awesome teachers - same as it is at any school.


Specializes in ED. Has 11 years experience.

I took Chemistry at a California community college and it was in no way "dumbed down". I learned an incredible amount, and my instructor was the best I have had at any school (I have 2 bachelor degrees). No shame in going to a CC!!!