Through the years, community colleges have always had a negative stigma attached to its name. Even today, this negative stigma is still present. However, the misconception of an undergraduate curriculum from a junior college is inferior to an undergraduate curriculum from a university is becoming widely accepted. The popular notion that people foresee in a community college is that it is mainly a place for those people who did not possess the knowledge to attend a four-year university. This, however, is a big assumption towards some of the students that attend community colleges because many people enter into a community college for many different reasons. One reason, for example, people attend a community college first is the financial disadvantage many people have; therefore, it seems that going to a community college is their only choice. The price for a general education in a community college is significantly lower than that of a general education in a university. Because of the lower costs, the possibility to receive a quality education or trade comes into reach for everyone who is financially challenged or hasn't made a career choice. Despite the negative misconceptions of junior colleges, they bridge the gap between high schools and universities and create opportunities for more of the United States population to achieve higher education. Understanding the need to establish a college, of which, provides an opportunity for the United States population to achieve a higher level of education, William Rainey Harper, the first president at the University of Chicago, created the first junior college in the year of 1892. He did this by dividing the university into two different parts; one was called the upper division and the other called the lower division. The upper divisions were known as the "Senior Colleges" while the lower divisions as the "Academic Colleges" (Witt et al. 14). Harper wanted these two separate colleges to focus on the different levels of training; primarily, the "Senior Colleges" was to focus more on the advanced courses while the "Academic Colleges" focused more on the less advanced courses. Harper also envisioned that a two-year school would soon stand on its own; however, it would still be affiliated with the university. Junior colleges, also mostly known and referred today as a community college, were first thought about because educators began to realize that students needed more educational opportunities after high school. The idea of these smaller colleges came about because educators saw that a lot of students were not able to go away to a four-year college after high school and they also saw that extending high schools for two more years could never happen (Brick 8). Although Harper was highly associated with these ideas in the creation of a two-year institution, he was not the only one involved with them. Alexis F. Lange, Dean of the School of Education at the University of California, also wanted to encourage students to further their education. Lange realized that there were a lot of students that did not need, nor want, to go on to a four-year college and he felt that community colleges should focus more on providing vocational preparation. Thus, he urged college administrators to prevent the "wrong persons" from attempting to fulfill transfer requirements when these courses would only hurt them instead of help them. Lange proposed that community colleges should prepare students to be active and effective in community life. As more people became aware of the many benefits that a community college would offer a student, the creation of such an idea was inevitable to stop. The first actual junior college was Lewis Institute in Chicago and was established in 1896. Since then, hundreds of junior colleges have been established throughout the United States, with most of them being affiliated with a major university. This also made it easier for students to transfer to upper levels of education....
Bibliography: Brick, Michael. Forum and Focus for the Junior College Movement. New York: Teachers College, 1963. Emanski, Joseph G., ed. Four Year Colleges. New Jersey: Peterson 's, 1998. Featherstone, Liza. "The Half-Price Diploma." Rolling Stone. 797: 87-90. Mesa College 1998-1999 Catalog. San Diego: SDCCD, 1998. Witt, Allen A., et al. America 's Community Colleges: The First Century. Washington, D.C.: Community College, 1994.
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