I had already been eyeing Metropolitan State University of Denver as my transfer school when a Boulder Daily Camera reporter gave me a gentle nudge.
“If you want a good school when you’re done with FRCC (Front Range Community College) then you have two in-state choices,” he said. “Metro State or CSU.”
Proud of myself for nailing the options so early in my college career, I proudly told people that when I was done with community college, I was going to Metro State. But the congratulations I expected never happened.
“I don’t know about Metro State,” people told me. “I’m not sure I would trust a degree from a college that used to be a community college.”
MSU Denver is a good school. I have heard great things about its journalism, criminal justice, psychology and speech language courses. In my own major, I have found a firm standard for traditional journalism, something other schools are abandoning as they concentrate on courses in “communication technology.”
But when I recommend my school to other budding journalists, the overwhelming balk that I hear is that MSU Denver used to be a community college. The irony that I’m talking to students of a community college is never lost to me.
To set the record straight, MSU Denver has never been a community college. Yes, degrees were only two years when the school was first established. That’s par for the course for start-up colleges. None of them begin with a full four-year curriculum—ones that have started in the past 100 years anyway. But the goal for MSU Denver was never to be a community college. It was always meant to be a four-year institution.
MSU Denver will “just take anyone” has also come up. Yep. We will. All students over 20 have to do is fill out an application and register for classes. There is no entrance exam, essay or other such “weeding” process. How does that make us a second-rate school? What refection does equal opportunity have on the quality of the education that we offer?
The idea that a good education only comes from CU, CSU, Princeton or Harvard is antiquated. A school with a mission to serve its surrounding community should not be cold-shouldered because more than the rich or the upper middle class can afford to attend.
Talk to alumni. If they say they would make the same educational choice if they had the chance to do it over again, then the school deserves a second look.