The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Is community college a better route to take over the four year university route?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 565 times Debate No: 72250
Debate Rounds (5)
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There are definitely benefits to either option one takes, but community college is cheaper . Time is very flexible when it comes to a community college because one can take a class whenever and perhaps work during the other hours of the day.


As my opponent has not specified any regulations in the resolution, I will. The BoP will be on Pro, where he/she must prove that the community college route is “better” than going straight to a university. The Con simply has to successfully refute those arguments and provide some reasons as to why community college routes are not as successful or beneficial as going straight to a university. Because the resolution is vague, I will also provide definition to clarify the confines and boundaries in this debate:

Community College: a school that you go to after high school : a school that offers courses leading to an associate's degree.

University: a school leading to a degree (such as bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral) and where research is done.

Better: higher in quality; more appealing, effective, useful

With these terms defined, we can adequately define this debate and all it entails. Without further adieu, let’s move on to to the argumentation.

Former CBS News Anchor Dan Rathers was once quoted in saying, “A college degree is the key to realizing the American dream, well worth the financial sacrifice because it is supposed to open the door to a world of opportunity.” His word ring true when one is deciding whether to attend a community college or to go straight to a university to debut their college life. The decision can often be tricky, and must be considered carefully. Yet, we must understand the point Dan Rathers was trying to make. A college degree insinuates that you will receive an education well worth your time and financial sacrifice. The best education is given in universities, rather than simple community colleges, which is something I assume we can all agree on. Therefore, we must realize that a better education (one that is more appealing to prestigious employers, more effective in a broader spectrum of jobs, one more useful in dealing with modern concepts and technology) will be given by a university rather than a community college. It is for these reasons that I negate the resolution, and stand in favor of the university route.

Under the premise of the debate, and the definition of the words, the university route is undeniably superior. This is further proved in the following points of analysis:

C1:Community colleges are less advanced than that of universities.

If content is your primary concern, your best option is to attend a four year institution. While most community colleges host a diverse field of study, on a normative basis, none of the fields go too in-depth and qualify an individual for a high-paying or prestigious job. On the other hand, four-year institutions focus more rigorously on certain topics, particularly in more advanced fields.

Susan H. Stafford (journalist and anthropologist) “Comparison Between Community Colleges and Four-Year Institutions,” April 30th, 2014

“Community colleges… focus mainly on liberal arts and sciences, plus vocational and technical training for direct entry into the workforce… [University] curriculum focuses mainly on liberal arts and sciences, preparation for professional degrees law or medicine, and for other graduate level education.”

This evidences how four-year colleges are more adaptive to advanced careers and better prepare individuals for better jobs. Community colleges also focus more on local concerns rather than diversifying their curriculum to be applicable to a larger demographic and geographic. Beyond this, we must also consider the environment for the student.

Going to a community college, you will meet the wide variety of individuals, ranging from the student whose parents forced them to attend and doesn’t do much, to an intelligent student aspiring to eventually transfer to a university and ultimately attain a good-paying job. This fluctuating mix can be difficult on studies and acceleration in learning. With so many people acting as distractions for devoted learners, excelling can become increasingly difficult.

On the contrary, college life at universities is much different. The vast majority of students one would be surrounded by are devoted and inspired students who intend to do their best and succeed. This not only results in an intellectual crowd, but also one that will encourage success and a progressive atmosphere.

This crowd is generally more intelligent based on factors such as GPA (Grade Point Average). A comprehensive study was taken by sociologist Paul Attewell and associates at the Graduate Center in New York where they found that students at community colleges had an average of 20.3% of students with 3.5-4.0 GPA in high school. On the other hand, the same study found that at universities, 38.2% of students graduated high school with a 3.5-4.0 GPA, a noteworthy 17.9% jump.

Furthermore, this crowd in general is also more diversified in nature, one that has a wide variety of people, but all working towards the same goals, helping each other and their world. These individuals know where they came from, where they are, and where they are going.

John Fortenbury (journalist) USA Today, January 2nd, 2013

[From an interview with Natasha Yonkof, political science graduate 2009] “While there are definitely opportunities to be involved in a community college, they seem to be less diversified … having extracurricular involvement is good for not only having fun, but also making connections that can be beneficial post-college.”

Besides enhanced diversities, universities’ superiority in size also allows for better extracurricular activities that can not only benefit in the present, but go on to assist students post-graduation.

Many make the argument that we should go to community college first and then transition to a university. While this can be done, we see problems with such an alteration, as will be explained in the next point.

C2:Transition from community college to university can be brutal.

Many individuals think it will be cheaper to begin their college education at a community college, and later move on to a more advanced university later. Yet, we oftentimes see detriments to such a transformation, including credit loss. Furthermore, as Dan Rathers explained, individuals should be willing to sacrifice finances in order to better their education and the world itself.

More prestigious universities will sometimes not accept the credits earned at a smaller community college. This essentially wipes out any college experience from the students record and forces them to pay twice for the same classes. This is indeed a real problem.

David B. Monaghan (PhD Candidate in Sociology) City University of New York, “The Community College Route to a Bachelor’s Degree,” 2014

“Loss of credits is a tax on transfer students… Only 58% of transfers are able to bring all or almost all of their credits with them. Policymakers have long made efforts to facilitate transfer to 4-year institutions, and such efforts seem to have intensified more recently. Research on the effectiveness of articulation agreements has only just begun, but so far findings are not particularly promising.”

What we see is inevitable credit loss for transfer students, with almost a majority of students losing credits. The news, however, gets worse. A fix for this problem does not seem to be in the near future. This causes a lot of grief for students when they realize their time and money was virtually wasted while attending their previous community college. That money is increasing, even for community colleges.

California Postsecondary Education Commission, “Community Colleges: Still an Affordable Route to a Degree?” September 2008

“Costs are still relatively low, but a community college education is no longer easily affordable in the way that it was in the past. In the 1970s, a commuter student who worked full-time during the summer or part-time during the school year could easily cover their expenses. With stagnating wages for low-skill jobs, students can no longer pay their way with part-time work. Today, even community college commuter students must seek financial aid and turn to their parents for support.”

Worse, community college beginnings aren’t nearly as successful as a college start attending a university.

David B. Monaghan (PhD Candidate in Sociology) and Paul Attewell (sociologist) City University of New York, “The Community College Route to a Bachelor’s Degree,” 2014

“Unfortunately, prior research has found that an undergraduate’s chances of completing a bachelor’s degree are much lower if that student begins at a community college. Students who begin at a community college differ on average from those who start at a 4-year college, in terms of sociodemographic background, academic preparation, and other dimensions.”

Essentially, students who begin at four-year colleges have a more determined mind and often did better in high school to prepare for the rigor, workload, and cost financially of a four-year education following high school. This also means that individuals who are lackluster in high school tend to gravitate towards an easier route (both financially and intellectually) in order to compensate for past mistakes. By that time, they are too far behind to effectively catch-up before graduation day if they want to attain a difficult yet achievable high goal.

As all of these things are definite problems, we need to address my opponent’s case before ending the round. All that my opponent brings up to support his side is that a) community college is cheaper and b) that it is more flexible.

  1. While it is true that community college is cheaper, the costs are going up, and if we really care about education, universities are attainable. (I’ve covered this concept throughout both contentions as well).

  2. This argument is bogus. Even at universities, you can choose when and which classes you take to free up time if need be.

In conclusion, it boils down to starting to work hard in high school to get scholarships from universities to take the conventional route of college education. Thank you for your time. :)

Debate Round No. 1


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3


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Debate Round No. 4


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Debate Round No. 5
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by republicofdhar 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I wanted to give conduct to Pro because I thought Con was being too forceful by imposing the BoP on Pro instead of sharing it (there is a sizeable word count and there are sufficient rounds) but Pro loses that for forfeiting everything. Also Con just fyi, it's "without further ado" and not "adieu" :) Aside from that, Con made very strong arguments, and used excellent sources. (for future reference, it would be nice to have links to the sources at the bottom) I think ColeTrain put in effort into his (/her) round of arguments, and out of respect for him (/her) I am awarding him (/her) these points on the merits of his (/her) arguments and not as a default on Pro's forfeiture. (with the exception of conduct)