The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Why top students chose TCC over four-year college

Ariel DeSantiago/The Collegian NW students visit tables during Northwest Fest, an event held in NW05. The event featured dancing, food and music.

campus editor

NE student Mimi Nguyen was poised to attend a top-ranked four year university.  

In 2022, she was ranked 11th in a graduating class of 500. She participated in marching band and art, even making state two years. But Nguyen has found her community at TCC. 

“I’ve made a lot more new friends outside my past circle,” Nguyen said. 

 There is a stigma surrounding the type of students who attend community college, and that deters many from applying to schools like TCC. For Nguyen and NE student Amy Ponce, attending a two-year institution seemed even more unusual because they graduated top of their class. Nguyen debated on going to a four-year institution. However, TCC remained a top choice. 

 “TCC was always in the back of my mind,” Nguyen said. “In general, I was very dismissive of going to a four year.” 

 Nguyen applied to Ivy League schools through QuestBridge, a nonprofit designed to bridge the gap between low-income and first-generation students to college, but was rejected. 

 “I [thought] this [was] a sign that TCC is probably what I should go with,” Nguyen said. 

 When she told people about her decision, they were confused. The most memorable reaction came from her government teacher 

 “He was super surprised,” Nguyen said. “He was just like, ‘Why?’ And I don’t want to pay thousands of dollars to go to school and I just think that I should slow down and start with TCC.” 

 For many students, community college is an opportunity to pursue an education at a low cost at their own pace. This belief is not lost on Chad Wooley, department chair of history, government, philosophy and legal studies at TR. 

 “If I was to guess, cost is a big thing, proximity to their home, things like that,” Wooley said. “It’s an opportunity to pick up your core classes and learn quite a bit at a reasonable cost. So I think a lot of students don’t want to get in that student loan debt that can happen starting at a four-year college, so they make great choices.” 

 That sentiment was the pull factor for Ponce. Like Nguyen, she graduated near the top of her class at 31 of around 500 students. Her family history motivated her to come to TCC. Her sister had attended TCC and transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington. 

 “I guess there was a big influence from my sister and my parents to tell me to do the same thing,” Ponce said. “Regardless, I ended up deciding Well I might as well do the same thing.  

As a first-generation student, Ponce appreciated the ease of TCC’s application process. 

 “TCC wasn’t really hard to apply to or figure out how to do it,” Ponce said. “It was the easiest thing. Going to a four-year will probably require more. It’s more complicated.” 

  The social phenomenon of FOMO, the fear of missing out, is common in community college. Watching peers experience the traditional university life may elicit feelings of sadness or regret about their choice. Nguyen’s solution to alleviating FOMO: Get involved.  

 “Join organizations, join clubs, get to know people here as well as faculty, and that feeling will go away instantly,” Nguyen said. “You get to know so many great people who are in different stages of their lives, but with just as much passion as you would expect from college students across the nation. It’s no different here.” 

 Nguyen hopes the opinion of others or presumptions don’t discourage students from attending. 

 “You won’t get over the fear of missing out for a really long time,” Nguyen said. “And the feeling of being uncomfortable with people asking you why you’re wasting your ‘potential.’ You’re going to be really uncomfortable with that for a long time. But you just have to remember that at the end of the day nobody should care. And if they care, they’re actual losers.” 

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