High School at a Different Level: A look into Community College


What do you consider success? Most students would give the generic answer that getting into a good college and finding a job they like is the definition of “success”. While that may work for some people, what if you’re unsure about what you want to do after high school? This was how Chelsea alumni Miles Butler felt after he graduated.

“I generally knew I had an interest in computers,” Butler said. “[However], I didn’t know much about the field and lacked exposure in high school.”

It can be hard to find a passion in high school that you want to make a career out of so by going to a community college, students have more opportunities to choose a major they want to build a career upon. 

Community colleges normally have small tuition costs and class sizes so students won’t have to worry about taking out student loans and incurring massive amounts of debt. Community colleges allow students to experience new things and interests without forcing them to make a decision too early which is how students like Butler find their passions.

“In my second year of community college I started to take more IT (Information Technology) courses which were interesting to me and really sparked my passion,” Butler said.

A lot of people will go straight from high school to a community college because community college allows them to go somewhere else, but with less wear and tear on their wallets. Once you are out of community college, horizons expand with recommendations to other four-year universities where students earn their bachelor’s degree and have the opportunity to enjoy the diversity and excitement of campus life. 

“At Harvard, there is much more diversity in terms of international students [and]I have been able to make friends from all around the world and learn about their cultures,” Butler said.

Seeing these other colleges and universities can also mean having to stand out from the crowd, even though millions of students apply yearly. Many people find their own ways to stand out: Sometimes the traditional path, with good grades and a stunning admissions essay, will catch admission’s eye, however, getting creative with a deep dive into a project and a demonstrated tenacity when it comes to your passion is the answer. 

“I think what made me stand out is my passion,” Butler said. “My academic record in high school was poor, about a 3.1 GPA , [but] within my essay, I conveyed that many other students that were applying had a linear growth in their educational experience while I had an exponential growth…I also had a lot of internship experiences on my resume which helped me stand out and I also did a research project [on] climate change.”