Colleges (by Andrea Insley, Ed.D)
More international students are
attending community colleges, which offer a popular
alternative for completing the first two years of a
Bachelor’s degree. They see community college as a
starting point in their effort to earn a four-year or
graduate degree from a U.S. university. These first two
years are designed to provide a strong foundation of
general knowledge before a student begins concentrating
on a major field of study.
Transfers and Training
In fact, many university advisors
recommend that students attend community college
“college transfer” programs first, then transfer to
universities for the final two years. Students transfer
or use their credits from community colleges to earn a
In addition to college transfer
programs, community colleges offer a wide range of
vocational (job-training) programs. These train students
in hundreds of careers from Business Administration and
Computer Programming to Nursing, Fashion Design, Hotel
and Restaurant Management, Secretarial, Commercial
Photography, Engineering or Advertising Art. Students
who complete these courses earn degrees or certificates.
Helping the Local Community
Community colleges meet the
educational and vocational needs of local communities.
Usually they are run by a state government. By
maintaining an “open door policy” with low tuition costs
and few entrance requirements, community colleges have
offered many U.S. citizens a chance to get a college
How does a Community College differ
from a Four-Year College or University?
Tuition at community colleges can be
as much as 20% to 80% less than at four-year colleges
and universities, particularly if the four-year school
Student population is often
smaller than four-year schools.
Teachers and advisors are able to provide more
one-on-one attention to students. Many U.S. and
international students say that attending smaller
schools for the first two years helped them make a
good transition into larger four-year schools for
the final two years.
Classroom environments are more
In the U.S. educational system, students compete for
good grades. International students who do not speak
English fluently are at a disadvantage. Often, they
do better and feel more comfortable in smaller
classes where there is less competition.
Adjusting is easier.
Two years at a community college can help an
international student improve language skills and
grow accustomed to the U.S. educational system and
way of life.