Fountain Valley graduating seniors Carissa (Mylinh) Lam, left, Oskar Hua, center, and Taylor Le, right. (Image courtesy of Avrena Ghatas)
Fountain Valley High School

Roaming Reporter: How do seniors feel about attending a community college or a four-year university?

With the school year drawing to a close and the class of 2021 preparing for graduation, the next thought on the many soon-to-be Fountain Valley High School graduates is college. For many FVHS Barons, their whole educational career of grades, standardized testing scores, extracurriculars and applications has been leading up to this point.

While some choose to take a gap year or start to work right away, some students have decided whether they will be attending a community college or a four-year college. With the different benefits both types of colleges have to offer, here’s what seniors have to say.

(Taylor Le)
“I plan on participating in the [Orange Coast College] Transfer Admission Guarantee program, which means that I’ll be attending OCC and pursuing an associate’s degree for transfer and then transferring to a [University of California] school … One of the major factors that helped me decide on a community college is finances. Attending OCC is much much cheaper than attending a [four-year] university, and it puts less stress on my family if I attend a community college. I also decided on community because of the pandemic. To me, it seems silly to pay so much money for a [four-year] university if classes are just going to be online. I’m under the impression that attending a [four-year] is for the experience and to make connections, neither of which you can do meaningfully online. Although many schools are going back to fully in-person instruction, 2020 has very clearly taught me that nothing is a guarantee. Coronavirus cases can spike unexpectedly, mental health is plummeting as a result of the pandemic, anything can happen. I’d rather not have a large sum of money dependent upon life proceeding normally…My choice of college wasn’t really affected by any sort of bias or pressure, but there is still a stigma around community colleges and [four-year] universities. Even though more and more people are taking advantage of community college transfer programs, I still feel a sort of shame whenever someone asks me where I’m going to college. I make sure to mention that yes, even though I am going to community, I plan to transfer to a UC,” senior Taylor Le said.
(Emily Le)
“I’m planning to major in Mathematics Education at Cal State University of Long Beach this upcoming fall. Luckily, I knew what I wanted to do at a young age, so there wasn’t much doubt [about] what my major would be. Often, we look at community college as a great way to start looking at your options as you get to experience so many classes at very low prices. Because I knew that I was going to take the teaching route, I wanted to go straight into a [four-year] college to get my education started. I’m lucky enough to be financially stable thanks to my parents so there wasn’t much worry in that department. Although, I did doubt about going to a Cal State at first because of the stigma that people who take Cal State weren’t good enough for anything higher. Seeing all my friends go into a UC definitely made me embarrassed to be going to a Cal State, but all in all, at least I was getting my education. I honestly don’t think my choice of college won’t affect me as much as a lot of people make it out to be. Maybe socially it’ll be a different experience, but we’re all taking the same courses just at different places. Personally, I think getting a bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum of my education so there isn’t much worry there, I’d be more concerned when I start aiming for a Master’s or Ph.D. From this experience I learned that it’s not the greatest concern on where you’re going, as long as you get the education you want,” senior Emily Le said.
“I’m planning to go into a four-year university to pursue an accounting degree in the business field. I’m really interested in my major and I feel as though it’s something I want to continue into my future. Right now, I’m planning to go to Cal State Fullerton, but I might consider transferring to a private university such as [University of Southern California]. A factor that helped me choose a [four-year] university was my major because I knew that Cal State Fullerton is a good school for business along with other good programs. In addition, CSUF was also in my financial capabilities along with help from other financial aid that I applied for … I think my choice of college was affected by my parents and family members because my parents always wanted me to go to a [four-year] university over a community college. In my Asian family, they look down on those who go to community college which I believe is unreasonable because it saves a lot of money but I would feel as though I let them down if I went to a community college since they’ve always put so much pressure on me to go to a university. I think that my choice of college can affect my career in the long term, but at the same time, I don’t think it makes a big difference as many people think it does. My step-brother went to CSUF and is now an accountant at a very big company along with other people who went to better business schools. This just shows that although college could affect your career and where you are in the future, your attitude and work mainly determine how successful you’ll be. However, I think that going to a school that is known for business would be better than for a school not for business because it might set you up better for finding a job relating to your field after college. I would [also] like to add that I don’t see anyone differently whether they choose to go to a [four-year] university, community college or no college at all. It’s all up to what is best for them,” senior Nancy Vu said.