Question & Answers: Admissions in Community Colleges


I have been told about community colleges. I want to know more about them and if my son should consider it.


Community colleges in America are in my view is the most unappreciated educational institution by the international student fraternity in the sub continent. By definition these colleges are state funded public institutions offering a two year associate degree. They are also known as junior colleges. These colleges were created for local communities and they continue to place precedence on local needs. They are also aware that their students live in a multicultural, mutually dependent society and therefore are engaged in a wide range of efforts to internationalize the learning experience. These colleges constantly add international workings into existing curricula to provide special programs, activities and classes for the growing foreign student populations. There are about 1,200 community colleges in USA and 11% of international students choose this pathway.

Community colleges

Community colleges offer an alternative pathway to students for the first two years of their bachelor degree. The entry requirements of these colleges are not very stringent and the cost of tuition tends to be significantly lower than private or state colleges. On completion of the two year program students can either enter the work force or transfer their credits towards obtaining a four year bachelor degree. Small class sizes and personalized attention results in a strong foundation which makes the transition to a four year college easier. Students can choose from hundreds of academic and vocational programs. Most colleges have formal articulation programs with private and state (four year) colleges in their own geographical vicinity. But that does not prevent him from applying to colleges in other states of USA. A student could have studied in a community college in California and is eligible to apply for transfer to a highly competitive private college in Boston. For example Cornell gets a large number of transfer students from California community colleges.

For students who need personalized attention and whose high school grades may not be very good, community colleges in my personal view, offer a great alternative to enrolling in some C grade college. Two years down the road the educational system not only allows but also facilitates the student to transfer his credits to a more competitive college. Through this process not only will the student graduate from a better college but his parents will save lots of money as the fees in community colleges can be as low as $ 5,000 per year as against $ 25,000 – 40,000 in private colleges. At the end of four years the student has a bachelor’s degree from a recognized, quality institution and has also saved his parents close to $ 50,000 in tuition fees.

The only road block is in the minds of people and the perception that seems to have been formed about the image and quality of community colleges.

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