Community College Benefits
The Top 10 Benefits of Attending a U.S. Community College
- Affordable Cost
U.S. community college tuition and fees are approximately 50% lower than those at 4-year colleges and universities. If you intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree, you can lower the total cost of earning your degree by taking the first 2 years of a university program at a community college.
- Course Credits Transfer to Universities
Most U.S. community colleges have “articulation” agreements with 4-year colleges and universities to allow students to transfer their community college credits to a bachelor’s degree program. State universities often guarantee entry as a third-year student if the student has completed all course requirements for the first 2 years of study.
- Flexible English Proficiency Requirements
Because U.S. community colleges offer excellent Intensive English Programs (IEPs) and English as a second language (ESL) courses, they may accept lower scores on English proficiency tests or waive English proficiency requirements altogether. Your community college will have you take its own English placement test after you arrive on campus and before you register for classes.
- Focus on Teaching
U.S. community college faculty focus primarily on teaching and providing personal attention to students. They are not required, as are most 4-year college and university faculty, to spend time away from the classroom to conduct research or publish. At a community college, you will have opportunities to gain a real-world perspective from faculty members who usually have practical work experience in the subjects they teach. IMAGES
- Small Class Sizes
Small class sizes at U.S. community colleges provide an atmosphere in which you can easily ask questions and talk to your instructors and classmates, not only to help you grasp concepts but also build relationships. Small classes are especially beneficial for international students, because they make it easier for you to adjust to the pace of academic life and give you additional opportunities to practice your English language skills.
- Additional Year of Optional Practical Training
You are eligible to receive 1 year of Optional Practical Training (OPT) in your field of study when you complete your associate degree and an additional 1 to 2½ years after you complete a bachelor’s degree. OPT can build students’ resumes and be advantageous when seeking a job. (For more information about OPT, review the diagram of “The U.S. Higher Education System,” and the infornation about working and “Living in the United States.”)
- Use of the Latest Technologies
Because U.S. community colleges work closely with local businesses and industries, many are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, classrooms, and facilities.If you are interested in pursuing a career in a cuttingedge field (e.g., biomedical engineering, renewable energy, robotics, laser optics, and Internet and computer technology), you will find the opportunities and tools at U.S. community colleges.
- Hundreds of Programs to Choose From
No matter what your interest, you are sure to find a program that fits your needs at one of the nearly 1,200 regionally accredited U.S. community colleges. Community colleges offer programs in all major fields of study—ranging from art to political science to zoology.A few of the most popular programs currently are accounting, business management, computer graphics and design, early childhood education, engineering, environmental conservation, hotel and restaurant management, multimedia, and psychology. Look at the academic programs of the featured colleges on this Web site. You might be amazed at the variety and range of courses offered.
- Opportunities to Experience U.S. Culture
Community colleges offer international students a unique opportunity to experience life and culture in the United States—both on and off campus. Art exhibitions, concerts, community forums, health fairs, sporting events, and theatrical productions are examples of educational, recreational, social, and multicultural activities that will be available to you as a community college student in the United States.
- Excellent Student Support Services
Because one of their primary missions is to ensure that all students achieve their academic goals, U.S. community colleges offer numerous support services including tutoring, study skills workshops, academic advising, counseling, and career planning–many of which are designed specifically for international students.Support services especially for students with disabilities may include adapted software or assistive equipment for people with mobility, vision, learning, or hearing disabilities.