What are community colleges in the US? What courses are available and how much do they cost? DIKSHA, VIA EMAIL People often think that community colleges are for candidates who are unable to get into university. However, given the flexibility, affordability and diversity these institutions offer, studying at a community college can be a wise decision.
Community colleges, also referred to as junior colleges, offer two-year associate degree programmes. Students enrol to earn the associate degree and then take up a vocation or, as is the case with most international students, progress to a university to earn their bachelor’s degree through a 2+2 programme.
Most community colleges have articulated agreements with prominent universities in the region and function as feeder colleges to these universities. For instance, Diablo Valley College in California is one of the top feeder colleges to UC Berkeley.
The cost of attending a community college is usually a fraction of what you would pay at a university. Students who aspire to attain a global education in another country at an affordable cost can look at this as a very viable option.
The smaller classroom sizes at community colleges allow for personalised interaction with your teachers compared to large universities. The smaller learning environment promotes better communication between the faculty and students. Also, instructors are focused on teaching and student development as opposed to the faculty at big research universities where they have to divide their time between teaching and research.
The transfer from college to university is usually seamless and students often receive plenty of support from their academic counsellors along the way.
It’s important to realise that not all community colleges offer the same benefits so it is essential to choose carefully. There are over 1,500 community colleges in the US, so you will have to put a lot of thought into the process of selecting one.
One of the first things to do is make sure that the college is accredited. Also, you will have to check which universities it is affiliated with and the success rate of the college in transferring students to those universities. This will also help you to chart your long-term study plans, as you can set a target for where you would like to complete your bachelor’s.
Check entry requirements and find one that matches your profile.
While community colleges generally have lower entry prerequisites in terms of GPA and English proficiency, the requirements vary and, as is the case at universities, you will have to review all the information thoroughly to find the right fit for you.