What is a Community College?

Did you know most of the students who are residents of U.S. go to community college? Before getting the ball rolling, let’s review what community colleges offer their students and some good reasons to apply.

Updated by Niharika Padiga on 2nd March 2020

Community College is a two-year degree program that mainly focuses on local people where they can easily transfer to 4-year colleges/universities in the last 2 years along with their grades and degrees. 


How much does Community College Cost?

Despite a relatively low sticker price, there are many factors that can raise the cost of attending a community college. The actual fee structure of community college is lesser when compared to universities such as room rent, food, and travel allowances.

Depending upon the student’s financial capability, the community colleges calculated their budget and became helpful to students to save more money. Overall, they might save 8,000-10,000 by going to community colleges that a 4-year college/university.


Benefits of a Community College

If you are curious to join in community college, know about their benefits. Why would an international student study here? Here is the list of benefits:

  1. Studying in community colleges is cheaper.

  2. It’s easy to get accepted as it uses an open admission policy.

  3. Classes are small, all universities have lectures with hundreds of students, community colleges usually have classes over 15-20 students.

  4. Take a bachelor’s degree at the lower costs and start with 2 years at community colleges and transfer to universities for the last 2 years then you will get the same degree as if you have taken all the 4 years at the university.

  5. Experience college life in the US and take a gap after high school and do other 2-semesters and pick the courses and try different subjects.


How to Apply to Community College?

As most of the community colleges have open enrollment, it’s not necessary for students to submit all the documents. 

It’s a known fact that the admission process starts with filling out an online application form.

A candidate must visit an official website of the college and submit their form before the deadline.

Step 1: Choose Where to Apply

The first thing that you need to carefully consider before randomly applying to any university is to choose from which community college to get your degree.

Once you are done with choosing your college, select your degree which you are interested in pursuing. Research the chosen college website, check the college curriculum and ask the seniors about the college/university.

In this manner, take care to find the best college which has the degree you want. 

Step 2: Fill the Form and Submit Your Application

Almost all universities have a common online form, but most community colleges have their own online portals. 

Make sure you have filled all the necessary fields of the application and click on submit. 

After filling the complete application form, the final step will be the electronic signature.

Step 3: Provide Your Marks Sheet or a Transcript

Community colleges require a previous year marks memo/transcript to assess your academic performance.

You can get the marks memo from your admin department and after receiving the sheet you can upload it online, mail, or deliver it to the college in person.

Step 4: Give Your State Residency Proof, If Necessary

You need to submit your state proof residency if you are applying for in-state tuition.

It’s not necessary to send any proof if you have attended high schools as a community college for more than a year in the same state.

You have to provide your documents if you haven't attended high school in the state. Documents to be submitted include Valid voter Id, State driving license, local account statement.

If you feel confused about which documents you need to submit, you can approach the community college administrator.

Step 5: Attend exams in English and Maths

One best thing about choosing these community colleges is their placement exams. After the college decides to take you and process further, you will be asked to attend the placement exams to check your ability and proficiency level in English and Maths.

Step 6: Take advice From Your Mentor

Before meeting your mentor, you should check and set the admission process and placement testing. You can enquire about the classes that could transfer credits to a 4-year college, the opportunities outside the class, like cultural activities, sports, and other services. 

Step 7: Register for Your Department

Final step is to choose your department of study based on your research interest. Generally, it takes 4-5 classes per semester for full-time undergraduates. 

Once you are done with the registration process, you have completed the application process. 


Community College vs University

Community colleges are two-year colleges that offer many benefits to students, including affordability and convenience. Whereas in university it takes 4 years to complete the degree.

The admission fee structure and the tuition rates in the community college are less when compared to university. 

Studying in community colleges is easy as there are fewer students per class so that lecturers can focus on every student.

Students have a chance of doing part-time while studying in community college and can be close to their homes whereas it is not possible with the university.

Though there is less reputation for community colleges, the educational standards have risen with well-qualified faculty.


How Long Can You Get Financial Aid at a Community College?

Many parents and undergraduates have false assumptions regarding this aid that it doesn’t exist in community college as the tuition for these colleges is so less. But actually it is not the case.

You may be qualified to earn financial assistance for up to 150% of your present academic curriculum, regardless if financial assistance was acquired for all of these credits.

Example 1) A 60-credit-hour degree course should be finished within 90 undertaken credits; (6 years for a 4-year degree)

Example 2) A 24-credit-hour certificate course must be completed within 36 undertaken credits (3 years for a 2-year degree)

Undergrads who reach a maximum of 150 credits are no longer eligible to receive any federal student aid or other institutional aids. 


Famous People Who Went to a Community College

Americans are increasingly moving toward alternate routes of higher education like a vocational school, trade school, and community colleges. 

According to a recent survey, two out of three Americans rank a community college education as high as a four-year program. These days it’s beginning to matter less and less where you attend college.

The list below are some of the public figures who attended the community college:

Tom Hanks

Mr. Hanks is a film celebrity who attended Chabot Community College in Haywards, California. Later he transferred to get a 2-year degree but still, he talks about Chabot for his present success.

His 2011 film “Larry Crowne” was actually inspired by his years at Chabot Community College.


Steve Jobs

Steves dropped his education from Oregon college and went to co-found Apple, also attended De Anza Community College. He completed his two-year course in 1970.


Elizabeth Warren

Although Senator Warren struggled financially, she finished her education at George Washington University and received a scholarship based on her own skills and dropped early at 19 to get married. She later studied at the University of Houston, a commuter college.


George Lucas

It’s true! The iconic Star Wars creator graduated in 1967 as a film major with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, but before he earned his four-year degree, Lucas first attended Modesto Junior College.

Along with them, there are also many successful people like Ross Perot, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah who attended the commute colleges.


Conclusion

Well, what matters the most is earning a degree and learning a skill is important which is something you definitely don’t have to go for. The bottom line you need to understand is that it doesn’t matter so much where you go but what you do with your time while you’re there.