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Jim Rash SDCC

Easy access to deans? Why, that’s just one benefit of community colleges.

Diane Melville paid for her entire education with scholarships. Part of her secret? Cutting costs by first attending community college. A lower price tag wasn’t the only benefit she got from her community college, though. Here’s her story.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t attended community college.

I wasn’t the kid who flunked out or even did poorly in high school. I was a strong student that decided not to go directly to a 4-year college.

I was mature enough as a high school senior to realize how immature I was. I had only an inkling of what I wanted to pursue as a career, and I certainly wasn’t passionate about any of the colleges that I had gotten into, so community college seemed to make the most sense: the tuition was dirt cheap, and I could live at home for free while I figured my life out.

Community college was nothing like I had expected.


Yes, it was dirt cheap, and I could mooch off of my parents for a couple of years; however, I was astounded by all of the opportunity that presented itself on campus.

First of all, the chance to transfer into better schools from community college was an eye-opener. I eventually transferred to Babson College and started my first company in my dorm room. Coming out of high school, I wouldn’t have stood a chance to get into Babson (nor would I have applied, because I was certain that I wanted to be a doctor when I was in high school).

What was most surprising was how easy it was to access deans, presidents, club directors, etc. All I had to do was fill out a simple form and voila, I had started my own club. One email, and I was having lunch with the campus president. Joining and moving up the ranks of clubs on campus was a breeze, and community service opportunities were everywhere.

For the motivated student, community college campuses are like playgrounds.


I say that my life changed because attending community college gave me the opportunity to grow up and do bigger things than I could have ever imagined. It forced me to make my own opportunities and learn quickly.

Had I just attended a 4-year school, I could have just ended up following a traditional path, getting into something I wouldn’t still be passionate about (remember that doctor dream?), and never questioning whether I could do something greater.

To all of you currently attending community college, don’t waste this opportunity. You can do great things there. Anything you want to achieve is arguably more of a possibility out of community college than out of any other higher-education institution.

Have big dreams? Let us know in the comments! Diane would love to share her advice on how to leverage your community college education to achieve those dreams. 

(Photo: Flickr/Deadpool46)

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