Another name of community college is “Junior College.” A community college refers to a higher education institute, which offers a two-year program, i.e., the associate degree in a particular course. Similarly, it includes transfer programs to a four-year degree and occupational program that could be for one or two years.
The community college offers curriculum for personal development of individuals. From a historical perspective, community colleges emerged in the early 1900s to fulfil the individuals’ needs who were unable to go away from their families to carry on further education.
Initially, several community colleges served the purpose for African Americans and females who desired to join college. Several individuals enrolled in professional education disciplines in community colleges. These institutes at the small level were established locally within communities.
The concept of community colleges was in contrast to that of the typical four years institutes that required students to leave home and reside in the hostel for studies. Now, the community college students can transfer their credits to a four-year college.
What are the Advantages of Joining a Community College?
It is worthwhile to become part of a community college:
- Cost- Going to a community college is much cheaper as compared to getting admission in a four-year college.
- When a student struggles to decide which major to pick: Sometimes, students find themselves in a state of confusion when it comes to picking a major. In this context, attending a community college would help them to decide on getting an insight into courses. They can have a clear idea about their undergraduate work without any association with a four-year college. Therefore, after spending some time in community college, students may be able to pick their major.
- When students want to join college part-time, several community colleges offer courses in evenings so that students can attend after working hours. On the other hand, private colleges often require students to join full-time. For students who work in the morning and want to continue their studies part-time in the evening, community college is the right option because they can manage their work and education.
- When students do not perform well in high schools: Public and Private four-year institutes do not take every student as they have specific criteria. The students who have poor grades in high schools often struggle to get admission in private and public institutions. However, community colleges are for everyone. The students can join community college to improve their GPA. In this way, they will be in a better position to apply for a four-year institute again with a better score.
- When students pursue a professional degree, which may not necessarily need a four-year degree, the community colleges serve the purpose. Some colleges offer one-year Certification in different fields such as Pharmacy, Automotive Brakes and Suspension and others.
What can Students Study in Community Colleges?
Community colleges also offer subjects that students study in four-year colleges. Many students joining community colleges obtain associate degrees (two-years program), transfer programs, and one-year certification courses.
Transfer program refers to the course that a student takes while deciding to transfer credits scored to a four-year college. However, students need to confirm all the details before choosing a course and joining a community college.
One-year certifications indicate that students have completed the fundamental requirement of course work of a particular vocational field. Now, the students with Certification possess reasonable skills to perform a job in the relevant field—for example, Practical Nursing Certification, The Management Certification, Administrative Medical Assisting Certification and others.
How are Community Colleges Different from Four-Year Colleges?
The major differences between community colleges and four-year colleges are on-campus living and admission policies. There is no concept of on-campus living in case of community colleges. Students live in their homes with their family members or live on their own. In contrast, in four-year colleges, many students live on-campus.
The second basic difference is the admission criteria. Majority of the community colleges allow access to every student. Although there is an application process in community colleges, they do not adopt the policy of considering the competitive application.
Anyone can enrol in the community college. The public community colleges provide everyone with open access in terms of admission. However, some private community colleges have made their admission policies.
Considerations for Joining a Community College
It would help if you kept a few things in mind before you join a community college. You will most likely not have an on-campus life while studying in community colleges. For some students, the social environment in on-campus life is vital for the college experience. So, this is not the case with community college.
Likewise, you will not have opportunities to make friends with other students because students immediately leave once the class is over.
Community colleges do not provide opportunities for extra-curricular activities such as drama, sports, and other fun activities.
You need to take into account the “Articulation Agreements.” Several students enrolled in the community college with an intent to transfer their credits to a four-year institute after completing their associate degree. They need to check whether their course is transferable or would the course credits count at their desired transfer college.
For this purpose, the Articulation Agreement is essential because four-year colleges have this agreement with community colleges.
The agreement indicates that once the students have completed their transfer program in community college, they will become eligible to study in a four-year institute as a junior. Generally, colleges update the information regularly. Therefore, do not depend on the old information, instead update yourself before attending the college.
Community colleges offer associate degree programs and one-year certification to students. The programs offered by community colleges are transferable to the four-year institutes. Community colleges are beneficial for students who want to study part-time.
Student can work in the morning and can attend community college in the evening. These colleges are affordable as compared to the four-year colleges. After completing the certification, students can work in the relevant filed. Community colleges provide students with a future roadmap.