Junior Colleges deserve respect

I went to a four year college, University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. I had a ball. I got to live in a dorm, be in a sorority, spend my Junior year abroad in Spain, take a tailoring class and try a year of apartment living. Oh yeah, I also got a college degree and I spent 35 years using it.  My tuition was paid for by my teacher scholarship and my Dad paid for everything else. (Thanks, Dad!) My daughters did the same thing and we love U of I with all of our orange and blue hearts. We were lucky, attending a traditional four year school worked out for us.

While there aren’t any other ways to experience campus life, sororities and the indulgence of a year abroad there are other ways to earn a college degree, Junior colleges.

I have taught at two of them and hopefully I will be teaching at one next semester.  (Come on, three more students want to take Spanish for Health Care professionals, yes?)community-wallpaper_

After 8 years teaching in the Junior colleges of Illinois, I am very impressed and I think shows like Community do a disservice by mocking them. Junior Colleges deserve respect and I will tell you why a Junior college may be the perfect choice for you.

  1. Money – Not everyone has the financial means to go away for four years. Junior colleges let you get two years done at a much cheaper cost.
  2. Jobs – Many Junior college classes will lead you to a job in health care, food industry or transportation. Not everyone needs a 4 year degree.
  3. Pedagogy – I have experienced really lousy teaching at prestigious colleges because the focus is on the academic pursuits of the professors and how much they promote their own scholarly achievements by publishing. Many Jr. college instructors are retired or full time trained teachers who, unlike college professors, have been taught HOW to teach.
  4. Life happens – Sometimes taking four years off to live away isn’t possible. Students are parents or have parents who need them. You can still get the college thing done and take care of your other responsibilities.
  5. Second chances – Some kids go away to school and just aren’t ready for that much freedom. They mess up, they get homesick or they flunk out. That decision doesn’t have to haunt them forever. When they are ready for college, the Junior Colleges are there for them.
  6. High school preparation – Some students were goof offs in high school or went to inferior institutions. If their skills aren’t up to par, Junior Colleges have classes and programs to get them up to prepared.
  7. Everyone learns differently – Junior colleges have all kinds of help for students with any kind of learning challenge. Just because you are a non traditional learner doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a college degree.
  8. Desire to stay home – Some students want to stay at home. Maybe they have special dietary restrictions, a love interest or just like it at home, a Junior college is probably closer to their residence.
  9. Retraining – People change their mind after they get a 4 year degree, they can get additional training at a Junior College.
  10. Advanced work for High School students – Some high school seniors enroll in dual credit courses or take an upper level class at a Junior college. For a minimal investment, they start college with credit hours and college experience.

i_love_junior_college3Next time you’re tempted to poke fun at a Junior college or mock that experience how about you consider these 10 reasons and acknowledge that our Junior Colleges deserve respect.

Respecting others’ choices, now that makes me sew happy!

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Here are other posts I have written on education. (Yes, I know this is a sewing blog but by a teacher!)

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at QuiltingSewingCreating@gmail.com

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