How can you get a quality American education while not spending a lot of money? Go to the community college for two years and get an associate degree. Such an education is equivalent to a bachelor’s diploma and costs from $4,000 a year, in addition, many institutions offer scholarships for talented applicants. Upon request, after completing a two-year college, a student has the opportunity to transfer to the third year of a four-year university and receive a bachelor's degree.
Conditions for transferring to a Four-year university
If you choose the above scenario, before choosing colleges, be sure to find out with which universities they have agreements with and what are the conditions for transferring to the 3rd year. Such agreements help making sure that the subjects that you studied for two years are easily recognized by a four-year college or university. This information is often posted on the college website, however, it is always useful to contact the admissions office directly to understand your opportunities. There are two types of agreements between two-year colleges and four-year institutions. You will 100% transfer to the coveted university if the college has a guaranteed admissions agreement with it. But if there is an articulation agreement, the student must go through a certain selection. Typically, the requirements for students to be transferred include transcripts for grades and filling out the application form, sometimes you need to pass additional exams. Usually, going to university after a two-year college is considered to be more financially profitable choice. However, you should remember that there are fewer scholarships for transfer students.
Benefits of two-year colleges
In addition to attractive prices, two-year colleges (community college) have many advantages. Firstly, they are distinguished by their ease of admission, since it is not necessary to take an ACT or SAT and it is not necessary to have a high score for a test of foreign language knowledge. On average, the percentage of students enrolled is 77%, which shows an extremely high chance of admission.
The next distinguishing feature of two-year colleges is the small size of the study groups. Since you can choose subjects in American institutions, it is common for students of different years of study to attend the same courses. Thus, sometimes, lecture classes at large universities attract more than a hundred students in their classrooms, while in two-year colleges the average class size is up to 25 people. Such a small group makes it possible to interact with the teacher and other students, that is, to actively study, practice their English, learn about the peculiarities of local culture and build connections for the future.
Two-year colleges can be especially interesting to applicants who are looking for programs in the field of STEM. In this case, quality laboratories and the opportunity to gain practical knowledge and skills play a key role. Two-year colleges, for their part, offer equipping classrooms and many teaching practitioners with new equipment. In addition, international students can work on campus and take practice (Curricular Practical Training) during training.
After completing a two-year college, you will receive an additional year of work experience. As in four-year educational institutions, after receiving an associate's degree, graduates of two-year colleges have the opportunity to undergo “postgraduate” practice - Optional Practical Training within one year. Continuing their studies at the bachelor's program, graduates have the opportunity to undergo another practice after receiving a bachelor's degree. Thus, studying at two-year colleges provides a unique opportunity to undergo postgraduate practice twice.