***Let me preface this by stating that the information I share below does not apply specifically to me. Lehigh has granted me enormous amounts of financial aid and blessed me with the opportunity to attend such a great school for a significantly lower price. I do however feel the need to share my thoughts because many other students aren’t as fortunate as me when it comes to financial aid and scholarships.***
After my first week of College I have learned one thing. College is a scam. I just finished up my first week of classes as a freshman at Lehigh University and can’t seem to wrap my mind around someone spending four years at an expensive private school such as the one I attend. Now, just because I believe my education here is a rip-off, does not mean that I am unhappy. So far, I am enjoying college life both academically and socially but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this school (and so many others) is squeezing it’s students for every penny that can get.
So before I explain what exactly about this is a rip-off let me start off by saying I don’t believe it is my fault or any students fault for that matter that this “stealing” is occurring. Students are groomed from the time they reach middle school all the way to 12th grade to believe that a 4 year college is required for success. Inside the classroom we are constantly told that prestigious schools like Harvard and Princeton are for the smart kids while the rest of scramble to decide what school we belong at based on our intelligence. This idea should be erased from the school system because in reality, the smart kids are the ones who go to a community college and live at home for 2 years after graduation.
As a freshman, a good 90% of my curriculum consists of required courses that I would take regardless of my major. Classes like English, Math, and Economics may contain useful information, but they give me no unique knowledge that I could get from Howard Community College (HCC) about 20 minutes from my house. These classes lay a solid foundation for the courses I will take in the future but there is no reason a student should pay $60,000 a year to take these classes. Why should I leave my life at home and pay such a ridiculous amount of money for something when I could get the same product for substantially less. It would be like driving 2 hours to the apple store to get a iPad at full price when the Bestbuy next to your house has the same one on sale for a huge discount. This analogy sounds ridiculous but in reality, it is exactly what millions of students do every year. There is a loop hole to this though, you can follow the simple steps listed below to receive the best of both worlds.
- Research colleges your junior year of high School, learn about the curriculums and what classes you need to take during your freshman and sophomore year. Really get in depth about their courses and learn what credits they will/ won’t accept. The more you research and plan, the better off you will be when it comes time to transfer from community college.
- Once you have selected one two schools you would be happy to attend, you can enjoy your senior year without the stress of applying to a bunch of schools like your frenetic classmates. The difference is you did all your research junior year and know exactly what to do at community college when you get there. Relax and enjoy this year.
- Work your ass off and get Straight A’s in your courses at Community College. Do not think that because it is a community college you can treat it as the easy alternative. Go to all your classes and treat your time their as if it is an Ivy league school. You need to do well these two years to make sure you are able to transfer to a 4 year institution.
- Transfer to your selected university and spend the next two years obtaining your degree just like all the chumps who paid for general education classes.
So if I chose to take my core classes and a few electives at HCC , I could save myself two years worth of tuition at Lehigh. I would work my ass off in classes at the community college and (hopefully) get straight A’s. That way I could transfer to a great school like Lehigh my junior year and take classes specific to my major and obtain the same degree as all the four year students. Not only that but my GPA would quite possibly be higher than other students as well. Not only does this plan save families a fortune on tuition, it also gives students the chance to transition into college classes without diving headfirst into the experience like most 4 year schools have them do.
The alternative I have proposed sounds so obvious, unfortunately I only learned this was an option after enrolling at Lehigh and starting my classes. I am writing this so hopefully the small percentage of people who see this can learn from my mistake. The issue lies in the fact that teachers at my high school never fully disclosed this option to us slightly above average students. We were all taught that we wouldn’t be going to Harvard but we were also “too good” for community college. If my guidance counselor told me I could still reap the benefits from a degree at Lehigh but save a lot of money I would have been all over it.
I am writing this blog to express my thoughts on college and share what I learn along the way. The next four years will be a time of learning and having a blog where I share my knowledge is to my own selfish benefit so I can go back and see how I have changed once this is all said and done. I will be updating this blog as often as I can. Ideally I would like to be able to post daily as I believe that I continue to learn daily. Keep coming back to see my latest thoughts and experiences as I work my way through school.