Why NOVA Is Underrated

Let’s talk about NOVA.

Courtesy+of+Paige+Vickers+for+NPR

Courtesy of Paige Vickers for NPR

As students enter their freshman year of high school, many are conditioned to believe that getting accepted into a four-year university, a prestigious one at that, is what they must work towards within their high school career. While one shouldn’t completely disregard the possibility of attending a four-year university, there are many other options that students fail to consider when figuring out what to do directly after high school.

The options can include enlisting in the military, going straight into the workforce, or the topic of this article, attending a two-year university. For those that intend on continuing their education right after high school, a two-year university, that is Northern Virginia Community College for many Hylton students, is a great option that many parents and students alike frown upon. Assumptions, such as only students who didn’t do well in high school go to community college or that community college isn’t a “real” college, attempt to discredit the advantages of community college.

However, I hope to address these assumptions about NOVA within this article, in addition, I will lay out my experience with the college process and what made me ultimately choose NOVA over a four-year university.

Why NOVA

Let’s talk about student loans. They are no joke and are a major burden to many people within the United States. Four-year universities have been raising their tuition prices in which the average cost of college per year is $10,338 at public universities and $38,185 at private universities for the 2021-2022 school year (including financial aid, scholarships, etc.). While some believe that these colleges have a good return on investment even if their prices are high, there are many factors that high school students fail to consider.

(1) While you may have thought you only had to pay a fixed price every year, it is quite the opposite. Tuition prices increase every year, so you may be paying more for college than you expected. (2) When you take out student loans, you eventually have to pay them back. However, you will be paying more to the bank than they had lent due to interest. Interest is the amount you have to pay to a bank for them having lent you the money, and if you aren’t careful, your interest rates may be higher than average and result in the bank excessively profiting off of you. (3) You are not guaranteed a job after college, and that harsh reality makes taking out large amounts of student loans a risky and life-altering decision.

Courtesy of LA Johnson for NPR

Hopefully, I didn’t discourage you from getting an education after high school, however, this is where NOVA is a great option for many students regardless of their academic standing in high school. For a full year at NOVA, the estimated cost of tuition is $5,498. This is less than a public four-year university and significantly less than a private four-year university, making college more affordable and helping students avoid the troubles they will face with student loans. It also gives students time to save up money when transferring to a four-year university after NOVA if they wish to pursue a bachelor’s. They will be in a better position than someone who had to take out large amounts of loans for their first two years of a four-year university.

Anyone can go to NOVA regardless of their academic standing, and it might just be smart, that is financially smart,  for some students to consider NOVA as an option.

No to Nova?

While NOVA carries many advantages, and besides the assumptions about NOVA, there are some aspects to NOVA that result in many students choosing four-year universities.

Students may not receive that college experience at NOVA seen in four-year universities, however, the decision lies with the individual and the decision may be between having that college experience and not having to pay off absurd amounts in student loans.

My NOVA Experience

Courtesy of LA Johnson for NPR

I write this article because all the assumptions stated in this article are the ones I previously had about NOVA. I felt that I needed to work excessively hard in high school in order to go to a “good” college, not realizing that NOVA can also be that “good” college or be my “dream school.” I applied to many top colleges including George Washington University, however, the reality of the cost of college had set in and I realized I couldn’t afford to go to the colleges I had worshiped throughout my high school career.

NOVA doesn’t have to be anyone’s first choice, however, it shouldn’t be overlooked and it could be the best choice one could make.