Commentary: Community colleges offer many opportunities so-called elite universities do not

I write this article in praise of California community colleges, including Orange Coast College. Having found my passion for education as a career, been involved in conducting some minor education studies at UC Irvine, and taught in the United States and five foreign countries around the world, I feel I have a good deal of exposure to the ambitions, aims and realities of many students of all age groups. I even started the Joseph Klunder Educational Challenge online to mentor any student in need and point them to local, low-cost resources around the world to help everyone attain the level of education and academic relationships they desire.

Specifically, I write about community college because it can help literally any student 16 and over obtain their educational and self-development goals.

For those who have not yet mastered English as a second language, community college ESL teachers are the best trained and compensated teachers, even compared to the ESL programs at big name state schools like UCLA. Many top-named schools do not even have ESL programs, despite ESL being a top academic need in the U.S. and the top academic need around the world.

For students still in high school, they are allowed to enroll in college classes of which many will transfer to public, and sometimes private, colleges. For those who want a well-paying vocational career, such a welding, registered nursing, electronic medical sonography, radiology technician, culinary, etc., there are some well-recognized two-year programs whose graduates have a very high rate of employment over $55,000 USD a year, with only two years of study.

For those wishing to go to a four-year university, Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) courses are readily transferable into all UC and Cal State campuses and many private colleges. In some cases, such as transfer admissions guarantees with five UCs and many Cal States, a student who maintains around a 3.3 GPA in a specific collection of courses can be guaranteed admission after two years of study.

For those who want personal development, such as business communication, fitness or other less-academic goals, community college offers experienced teachers at a fraction of the cost.

For those who are retired, emeritus programs offer a great way to meet other people in this life stage.

For those who have a hard time paying very high fees of higher education, California College Promise Grants (formerly known as BOGS fee waivers) are more obtainable than financial aid at four-year universities.

As a native of Newport Beach born into a white collar family, I had ambitions like many of my peers. Having gone to an Ivy League University (Brown) and gotten top grades, I am the first to criticize this educational elitism in favor of a more efficient, egalitarian system.

In the context of this audience, I would strongly encourage you to visit Orange Coast College in-person or Coastline Community College for online classes.

JOE KLUNDER grew up in Newport Beach. He currently teaches in China.