Community College Compared To University

by A Guest Author

How does community college compare to university? Well, there's a lot to compare, but each factor will mean something different to each student. While some students want to transfer to Ivy League schools, others are looking to earn an associates degree and join the workforce. Due to the plethora of options available in the U.S., it remains a popular destination for international students.

Please note: This post is mostly geared for international students going to community college. For US students who want to compare community college to university, see the following post: Community College Before University Is Perfectly Awesome, Right?

Various factors and parameters may be considered including cost, location, housing options, safety etc. However, the primary choice that most students need to make can actually be placed before all of this: What's the difference between the whole experience of going to university or community college?

The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that there are about 90,000 international students currently enrolled in community colleges all over the country. This isn’t a small number by any means - a clear indication that  attending community college is a popular decision of US-bound students.

Quality or Economy? You make the choice.

There’s no denying the fact that a regular university education will provide you with more qualifications, range of skills, and job prospects in a variety of fields.

Not only do you get a wider field to pick from in terms of subject areas, but you also move more quickly up the academic ladder - bachelor’s leading to masters and so on. But, as it is well known, a university education is expensive and with financial aid a bit scarce at certain institutions, alternatives such as community colleges enter the fray.

Money plays a vital role

The significant difference in tuition fees is probably the first factor that comes to mind when considering community college. For those who can’t afford a full-scale financial commitment straightaway, a community college might be just the thing to ease them into the whole journey of higher education. Also, if your objective is primarily to gain a certification in a particular field, then an accredited community college might actually serve the purpose very well, giving you a reputed certification at a comparatively lower cost. If community college has exactly what you're looking for career-wise, go for it!

Community colleges - International student friendly.

There are other reasons for opting to join a community college, besides the financial consideration. A lot of community colleges offer special programs and English proficiency courses for international students, to help them scale up to meet the challenges of a university education. Some community colleges also act as feeders for students to get into bigger universities in the neighbourhood or State, virtually guaranteeing you admission at the university on successful completion of their course.

In terms of the options for accommodation and a vibrant social life on campus, universities, quite naturally, score over their smaller counterparts, simply because they are equipped in all ways to contain and cater to a larger number of students pursuing varied study options. However, this doesn’t offset the fact that community colleges may offer more as a package deal in certain scenarios, for those who are looking for a more economical alternative if available.

After all, making a decision about where to study overseas is more about focusing on your needs and strengths as a learner and then making the right match, and you can always transfer from community college to university.

About The Author

Ashwin Raj works for Hotcourses and writes extensively for their flagship Indian website Uniguru on topics pertaining to education abroad. Uniguru has over 400,000 courses and more than 5000 higher education institutions profiled, across nine countries. Uniguru caters to international students’ need for reliable information and helps them make informed choices from the range of study options available to them.

This post was written by A Guest Author

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