Students in their last two years of high school start to ponder where to attend school after they graduate. If it is staying home and attending a community college or going away, it depends on the individual, the program they are seeking and what they can afford.
Durham College’s marketing coordinator, Traci Ellis says there are stereotypes about community colleges.
“This campus is not a small town college anymore, we have a lot to offer,” says Ellis.
With Durham College having more than 10,000 students and sharing the campus with the university, Ellis says Durham College is “ahead of the pack” in terms of offering college students with pathways to getting their degree.
Admissions and recruitment officer, Nicole Davidson, says community college will allow students to remain close to friends and family and save on housing.
Although Durham College offers residency, local students are not as likely to use it.
According to Lisa White, the associate registrar of admissions and recruitment, about six per cent of local students use residency.
Amanda Cave, a future DC student who is entering the Developmental Service Worker program this fall, says when she first went to school for biology at Carleton University, she didn’t apply to close-to-home schools.
“My program was offered at most local universities and colleges, but I only applied to schools that weren’t local,” says Cave. “I wanted to go away more for the experience of living away from home rather than for the program.”
Cave says living in another city was hard at first since she did not know her way around the city.
She was on OSAP and also received a $1,500 bursary from Carleton. After a year of studying biology in Ottawa, Cave realized she did not like the program she was in.
“I am choosing community college now because I feel like there are more opportunities of finding a job after college with a diploma than there is coming out of university with a degree,” says Cave.
Kristen Shaver, a Brock University student who is in her second year of environmental geoscience, says she was scared to go away to school but always wanted to go because of the opportunities it presented.
“It really gave me the push I needed to become more independent and self reliable,” says Shaver.
Unlike Cave, whose Biology program was offered at local universities, Shaver’s program was not.
“If there was a program that I really wanted to do at community college, absolutely I would have gone,” says Shaver.
Rebecca Lingdren, who will attend DC this fall, says when she initially applied for schools out of high school, she believed she needed to go away to school to gain a “real education.”
Lindgren attended Trent University and majored in History and Political Science. Instead of moving to Peterborough, Lindgren would commute two hours everyday to and from school.
“I was working part-time to earn money for all the gas and school expenses I needed, but if I didn’t have enough money to drive to school, I wouldn’t go,” says Lindgren. “So I did poorly in my first year, it was too stressful trying to commute and work.”
In her second year, Lindgren went to Trent in Oshawa. She says it was a lot easier since it was only a 15-minute commute and she was a lot more successful in her second year.
Popularity in staying home for post-secondary education has gone up, according to a Finance Yahoo article in 2012. More students cannot afford to pay for housing on top of tuition costs.
Cave says she would tell high school students to stay home if they can. “You will save money and most likely be able to put more of your focus on school work,” says Cave.
Shaver says deciding on whether to stay or go away is a very personal decision.
“If the student truly didn’t feel ready to leave. I’d advise them to maybe go to a local school or take a year off and really focus on what they want to do,” says Shaver. “If they were just flip-flopping on the idea, without a doubt, I’d recommend leaving. There’s a whole big world outside high school, you just have to find what feels right for you.”