The Community/Junior College Option
by Annette Broersma
, 8 January 2010
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In light of the extensive publicity about the price of a college education - particularly in California where the University of California raised their tuition 70% over the past ten years - it is sad that more families do not consider local community or junior colleges as a great option.
Really... a great option... not just the 'last choice' option.
The benefits for athletes include:
(1) An extra year or two to improve your game.
(2) An extra year or two to grow physically stronger.
(3) The option to enter a 4-year college after 1, 2, 3, or 4 semesters (assuming you have been certified as eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse). Many scholarships are offered mid-year or at the last minute when players become ineligible or injured; JC players are able to transfer at any time with no 'redshirt' period if they continue to be academically eligible.
(4) The chance to continue to train and compete for free with the JC coach; and possibly obtain a ranking in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).
(5) The chance to continue working with your current coach or program to improve, and even get a ranking in USTA 'Open,' ITA (the Intercollegiate Tennis Association has a summer circuit of tournaments as well as winter break tournaments), or ITF (Futures) divisions.
(6) 4-year coaches appreciate that a JC transfer has already figured out how to transition to the collegiate academic lifestyle.
(7) 4-year coaches often have relationships with certain JC coaches, who routinely function as 'training grounds' for them; be sure to ask which coaches have these relationships and with which colleges. (The reverse of this is also true: if your first-choice university is unable to give you what you want your Freshman year, ask if there is a JC they recommend so you can try again in a year, rather than give up on your dream college - remember "Rudy?")
(8) There are some states that allow Junior Colleges to offer athletic scholarships: Texas and Florida are two of them.
(9) Athletes at JCs and CCs are usually given the same preferential treatment as university athletes: including early registration, physical trainers, and tutoring.
Then, there are the reasons that any high school student should consider the JC/CC option: