Community College Week aims to educate and combat college stigmas

     

    Parents and students visit the Palo Alto Unified School District annual College Fair at Palo Alto High School to receive information on various schools. Photo by Ethan Kao.

    In October, parents and students visited Palo Alto Unified School District’s annual College Fair at Palo Alto High School to receive information on various schools. Though many community colleges were featured at the fair, Paly hopes to continue educating students about community colleges through its first Community College Week which starts today. Photo by Ethan Kao.

    Palo Alto High School hopes to educate students about community colleges through guest speakers, tours and workshops during its inaugural Community College Week which started today during lunch. 

    The purpose of the week is to provide students with information regarding community college, according to Outreach Specialist and Community College and Career Adviser Crystal Laguna.

    “The week will center around what the options and benefits [of community colleges] are,” Laguna said. “Every year I feel like many students say they don’t get enough information on community college so we’ll be teaching students everything about community colleges, from how to transfer to vocationals and exploring interests.”

    Each day of the week will provide students with various informational sources, including professionals who started at the community college level and have found success in their careers, according to Laguna.

    One of the featured events is the Community College Forum that will happen on Wednesday during lunch in the library, Laguna said.

    “During the forum we’ll be covering the entire breakdown of community college,” Laguna said. “When to apply, what to do and when, where you can get help,” Laguna said.

    The schedule for the week is as follows:  

    Chart by William Zhou.

    Chart by William Zhou.

    The full version of this schedule can be found on the event page.

    Laguna hopes that the week will not only educate students, but also reduce the negative connotation some students feel around towards community colleges.

    “I think there’s a negative stigma around community college because of the brand of schools,” Laguna said. “I think everyone wants to be accepted to a known university.  Not too many people want to say that they are going to community college. It [the stigma] could be because we’re right across from Stanford and are a high-achieving school. Currently around 12 to 15 percent of seniors go to a community college, but I want to make sure everyone knows what options are out there.”

    Laguna believes that community colleges offer several benefits, some of which she personally experienced.

    “There have been plenty of Paly alumni who have been eligible to attend a four-year college but chose to go to community college for numerous reasons,” Laguna said. “Whether if it’s they aren’t ready yet, don’t know what they want to major or that community college is cheaper. I personally was not strong in math but was able to really take my time and get better at math so that once I transferred to a four year, I had not only completed math but mastered the subject.”

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