Community college refers to higher education institutions that primarily serve their surrounding community in the US. This can include traditional academic classes that can transfer to four-year universities such as math and history as well as non-academic community programs like resume assistance for job seekers or swim lessons for kids. Students at these institutions can earn certificates, associate degrees or bachelor’s degrees as well as some offering diplomas, master’s or doctoral degrees.
Community college students tend to work while earning their degrees, so schools tend to offer more flexible schedules than four-year universities, with classes frequently held during the day, evening or online; and there may even be more group or lab courses than individual ones available.
Most states maintain a system of community colleges governed at the state level, either consolidated into one multi-campus system or operated independently. Each system typically has a coordinating board to oversee it while certain states may also establish separate governing bodies to oversee individual colleges.
No matter where or when you enroll, your focus should always be achieving a bachelor’s degree. This will help guide how best to use both time and resources available; depending on which degree it is that interests you, this might involve attending community college first for general education requirements or going directly into university studies.
As part of your decision-making, when considering schools it is important to factor in costs associated with each institution. Tuition costs for four-year universities tend to be more expensive than community colleges but this can often be offset with scholarships or other forms of financial aid.
Community colleges typically feature smaller class sizes than four-year universities, enabling for improved student-teacher relationships and personalized attention from teachers. Students may also participate in groups or clubs not available at larger schools – although this will vary by school.
Most community colleges require placement tests to help determine whether students should enroll in college-level classes. Students who score poorly on these assessments may require remedial coursework – which acts like developmental education in that it teaches essential skills needed for college success.
D’Amico suggests that transfer rates between community colleges and four-year universities can differ substantially, making the selection of appropriate courses and meeting with an adviser especially essential for community college students aspiring to matriculate at four-year schools. They should discuss which credits will transfer, any agreements between institutions ensuring such credits apply and any counts toward fulfilling major requirements; this step can help maximize chances of success during the transfer process.