I didn't get into my first choice, and I was devastated. I didn't feel like settling. I also didn't want to go to the junior college down the street from my parents' house while everyone I knew was living the dream in dorms a lifetime away. Eventually, I begrudgingly saw junior college for what it was--a means to an end. Get in, keep it a secret for 2 years, and then finally go to a real college and brag about it. Don't ever mention that middle step.
What I didn't know was that, aside from saving tens of thousands of dollars, those first two years of college were just as university as any university, but with added benefits. They taught me that I was smart enough for college; I succeeded at the university I graduated to particularly because of the learning I did at community college. They taught me how to foster my educational experience so that I maximized my learning and developed a deep interest in what was to become my major. Most of all, those two years taught me that I didn't need to be embarrassed about being there because I could "do" college. And, I saved a bunch of money.
I thought I was going to a less-than college, but my experience at university showed me that there isn't much difference. Knowing that many at-risk and under-privileged populations see college as unattainable, rebranding community college can go a long way to bringing more students through higher education while building personal and academic skills for success in and out of school.