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The Impossibility of Going to College Independently

There are many ways to go about getting and paying for a degree: financial aid, scholarships, student loans, parents’ money, pay as you go, etc. But most likely, if you are attending a four-year university, then you have to take out a hefty loan with a parent co-signer. Now, parents aren’t absolutely required to sign a loan for students, but they must meet the criteria for being an independent student — which are mainly uncommon cases.

Coming into college as an independent student is definitely a possibility, but many incoming first-year students don’t meet the criteria. Almost all students attending a four-year university couldn’t go unless their parents sign off, which then coincides with approval.

Another route to take to get a degree is going through community college. Unless the student has the means to move out somewhere besides home, however, most will stay home to two years of this type of institution with hopes of transferring later for a degree.  This path also makes these first-year college students depend heavily on their parents by leading many of them to stay living in their parents’ homes.

Relying on parents is not necessarily a bad thing, but why does the current system of attending college require that students depend on their parents to grow up? Why are we forced to depend on them financially long after most are no longer minors? The point of growing up is to not have to depend on parents, but the current college system demands that no matter which route we take, parents have to sign, pay and approve.

Especially in California, rent is expensive almost anywhere for most students going for college. Between classes and homework, students don’t have time to work enough to pay for basic necessities and rent all on their own. In turn, this makes it necessary for parents to step in and pay for their child’s amenities unless they encourage him or her to stay home. This is why many choose to do so for their first two years of college.

According to the Community College Research Center (CCRC), “In fall 2015, 38 percent of undergraduate students attended public and private two-year colleges,” which is a huge amount of students most likely staying in their parents’ home for financial reasons. The problem with this is that first-year college students can often still be treated like kids in high school, living with their parents and staying in the same place. Though these people may have felt the need to stay because of financial reasons, they may not realize the value of moving away for college.

Staying at home doesn’t encourage the student to make new friends or grow in their passion or stay as driven in school as much as it does when students move out of their parents’ house. This is not necessarily true always, but it’s very common. Many students who start out at community college end up dropping out. According to the CCRC again, “15.1 percent of students who started at community colleges in 2009 completed a degree at a four-year institution within six years.” This percentage is such a small number that it questions if the value of moving away is actually worth it — and if parents should really encourage their kids to go to school away from home.

The cost of college discourages many seniors in high school to even try to get into a four-year university. The fact that moving out, no matter whether it’s for college or just moving out in general, comes with extreme difficulties is ridiculous because it’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves to help us grow up into our own true individual selves.

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I grew up in a small town outside of Sacramento, CA and now currently am attending Loyola Marymount University. My major currently is English with a minor in Dance, and I am loving it! I love to spend my time reading in my room, laying on the beach, dancing through Disneyland, strolling around museums, and enjoying LA life.

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