Choosing Community College: Brandon Vo


I’m going to Ohlone College. I’m planning to major in microbiology, but over time, that could change. If anything, I’ll definitely study something in science because it was always something that came to me very easily. Especially having had a good set of teachers behind me like Ms. Koehler in ninth grade, I got inspired to work harder and try to learn more. I took a bunch of camps around biology and microbiology, and I really liked it so it came naturally to me that I wanted to do that. With my major, I could either go into medicine or I could become a researcher, and honestly, I’m down for both pathways.

There are two reasons I chose community college. One, I didn’t get into any colleges that I felt comfortable going to because I wanted an environment that was competitive and also had a good background. And two, the ones I did get into are too expensive. For example, I got into the University of Rochester for 80k per year but, my parents did not want to pay that. If I get off of UC Davis’ waitlist, I’d be happy to go there. But overall, community college was the right choice for me, because it’s insanely cheap. One semester for me is $700, and I’ve already paid for my fall semester. The low price is crazy compared to other colleges, like UC Davis, for example. There, one entire year is around 24k. 1.4k compared to 24k is easily a big difference. 

It was a difficult decision to go to community college because I really idealized going to a four-year university for the majority of my senior year. I liked the idea of being in a dorm with new people, hanging out with people, and having all these opportunities. But that was kind of crushed when I didn’t really make any colleges I wanted to go to. So when I got my emotions together, it was like, “Yeah, this is probably the best thing to do with the circumstances that were given to me.” and it ended up having a lot of upsides to it. I’m trying to play water polo at Ohlone, so I’ll still be able to compete.

I feel like community college will help me reset my life. I think, personally, I need a thorough change in mindset and a change in ideals so I’m going to community college to help me reset, and focus on what I think is important for myself. I feel like if you’re thrust into a four-year and you’re not prepared, you might stumble easily. Whereas going to community college, you have those two years to figure out what you actually want to do and where you’re at mentally. 

I would recommend community college to people who, right now, do not know what they’re doing, because those two years help you decide what you actually want to do. It gives you time to reset and figure out, “Okay, this is what I want to study, and this is what I want to improve on.” Additionally, people who can’t afford a four-year institution should consider community college, because the cost is significantly cheaper, and I feel terrible for people who have to take out loans for a college that might have been their fifth choice. If they started out going to Ohlone, they could actually afford that college. I’d rather start over, go to community college, save that money, and then go to a university I’d actually enjoy going to and spending money at.