The choice between attending a community college or a university depends on many factors, such as your plan for higher education and the requirements for admission.
Despite the advantages of community colleges, many students still prefer to attend 4-year universities. They offer a variety of facilities and a more rounded student life. Community colleges usually have 2-year programs that allow students to transfer their associate’s degree to a full university.
Both types of higher education institutions are valid, how do you pick the right one for you? Here are some of the differences between community colleges and universities to help you decide.
While a community college’s degree programs typically take two years to complete, most four-year universities require students to take general education courses for their first two years.
Some students may choose to take the two years of general education at a community college instead of going to a traditional university. Doing so saves them from having to take many of the same courses in the first year. This can also allow you to save money, as community college courses can often be less expensive.
Although community colleges are usually cheaper than universities, they do not have the same level of resources as their four-year counterparts. This means that many students do not have the opportunity to participate in the typical college experience of living on campus or participating in campus life.
If you’re choosing to do 2 years at a community college in order to complete your general education requirements, you may struggle to adapt to university life due to not having entered the university at the same time as your peers.
Most community colleges have small class sizes, which allows for more interaction in the classroom. However, many of their faculty members are employed part-time, which makes it hard for students to have access to their professors. With bigger universities, it can often be the opposite. Your professor may be full-time, but you’re often in bigger classrooms that can range between 40 to 100 students at times. This can lead to a less personalized experience and even the possibility that your professor won’t even know who you are off the top of their head.
Compared to traditional universities, community colleges have a much more diverse student body. They typically have a student body that ranges from 17 to 60 years old, and the average age is around 30. Due to the varying types of students, community colleges are often much more flexible when it comes to your situation. Community colleges often offer more night classes or are more understanding if you have a job or a child at home that affects your attendance.