Of course, community college students have other costs to consider tuition and fees. In fact, according to an infographic created with information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the average class size at community colleges ranges from 25-35, while classes at universities can have 150-300 students! At the same time, many community college students are adults returning to school who may be balancing school with jobs, family, and other commitments. The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University, has been conducting research on community colleges since 1996 to identify barriers to students' post-secondary access and promising solutions. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Most community colleges also offer short-term certificate and diploma programs that train you for a specific career. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education defines a university as a group of schools that typically offers many academic programs for undergraduate students, and advanced degrees such as master’s and doctorate degrees. However, for many careers in industry, education, and government, you're going to need a minimum of a four-year degree from a college or university. There is also the term "community college" — or less commonly, "junior college" — in the U.S., which refers to a two-year school that offers certificates, associate's degrees, and lower-level tertiary education (i.e., half of an undergraduate's degree, which can be transferred and continued at a full, four-year college or university). It depends largely on one’s own vocational goals. Beyond that, though, you may be faced with quite a few choices when it comes to your education. Although community colleges are often regarded as less prestigious than universities, community colleges may offer courses similar to courses in the freshman and sophomore curricula of some universities, although differences do exist between the two. Community colleges are almost always commuter campuses, so students live at home where they can save money on room, board, and many fees associated with residential campuses. Remember to keep in mind the differences between degrees, cost, admission requirements, living arrangements and class sizes when making your decision. Most four-year colleges offer bachelor’s degrees with some also offering associate degrees. The right choice for one student might be to enter the workforce, while another might prefer to get a bachelor’s degree straightaway. Community College vs. University. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. For many jobs in technology and healthcare fields, an inexpensive community college degree is the way to go. Community colleges (also known as junior colleges) offer a two–year degree called an associate's degree. While a four-year school may offer Bachelor's degrees, many community and junior colleges only offer two-year or Associate's degrees. Tuition and fees can be expensive, and students frequently live on campus. University programs take a minimum of four years for completion, and as a result they are often less specialized and grounded in a broad liberal arts core curriculum. Community colleges have open admissions and award two-year associate's degrees as well as offer some certificate and one-year programs. We'll explore the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Community College vs University. What’s the Big Difference Between Public and Private? You'll want to register and enroll early to guarantee your seat in a class. Community colleges typically have much less strict admission requirements than universities. When it comes to choosing between a two-year community college and a four-year university, one isn't inherently better than the other. Since the Community College. Universities are more likely than colleges to offer undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees; colleges usually only offer undergraduate degrees. The cost variation between attending a community college as opposed to attending a university can vary widely, and is typically the biggest difference between the two entities. A university degree in electrical engineering will almost always lead to a higher paying job than a community college degree in electronics engineering technology, and the four-year degree is also more likely to lead to oversight and management positions. As community colleges grow in popularity they are serving more individuals both locally and from around the world. Since community colleges do not have as many students on campus this means there are less students to meet and fewer organized campus groups and activities. There are even community college and junior colleges that provide students with two-year degrees. Sometimes called junior colleges, community colleges usually offer associate degrees, though some also offer certificate programs. That’s great! We'll explore the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Community College vs University. In some cases, they also offer advanced degrees in … Here’s a rundown of what some of these terms mean to help you with your college search. These agreements allow for a smoother transition from a two-year community college to … Community colleges give students the chance to start with lower student debt with lower tuition requirements. Universities Choosing a college means going to a new, unfamiliar world of immense possibilities. Community College vs. University: Pros and Cons. Support: Students often receive more support during their transition from high school. Related to the types of degrees community colleges and universities offer, the types of programs also differ. Most universities, on the other hand, offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Community colleges tend to be smaller than universities and offer more interaction with faculty. • Community colleges are flexible and allow one to pursue specialized education adapted to suit their needs. The average cost of tuition and fees at a community college averages just over $3,000 a year. Most universities are residential, so room and board fees need to be added to the tuition costs. Strong research universities will have doctoral (PhD) programs in some fields. “There is sometimes very little course work aside from major exams but keep in mind that college is what you make it - putting in the time is entirely up to you” (The Pros & Cons of Community Colleges). Community colleges also offer the following: A Pathway to a Four-Year Degree – Because community colleges are accredited, students can easily transfer between a community college and a four-year college or university. Most four-year colleges offer undergraduate degrees with some also offer associate degrees. Now its your turn to make an important decision. Attending community college gives students the chance to prepare for the financial demands of a 4-year university if they plan on transferring. However, universities in the U.S. are often larger and have a wider range of courses than those schools which call themselves colleges. Students who attend community colleges have the ability to use their degree to begin work, or continue their education at a 4-year school. College or university in the US has rather rigorous admission process compared to community colleges. In this post, we'll take a look at the big differences between these two types of schools so you have the information you need to make a smart decision about your future. A student whose family earns $50,000 a year could go to Harvard University for free because of financial aid. In every story the protagonist must make a decision that will change his or her life forever, from Neo choosing between the red and blue pill, Luke Skywalker between choosing the light side or the dark side, or even Lebron James choosing to go to Miami or to stay in Cleveland. Universities are also likely to have more frequent evening and weekend events such as lectures, musical performances, comedians, trivia nights, hikes, camping trips, and so on. In a nutshell: the funding. Tuition is also significantly lower than at a university. What is the difference? Keep reading to get the lowdown so you can make an informed decision about the next step in your education. Now, you need to decide which path is best for you: community college or university. Universities tend to focus on teaching students how to think and solve problems whereas a community college will often be more focused on training a student for a particular profession. Liberal Arts Majors vs. University Majors. Community colleges tend to specialize in career-focused fields such as engineering technology, computer information systems, nursing, radiography, physical therapist assistant, and security systems technology. Four-Year College . For students unsure about going to college, community colleges offer them the luxury of giving college a shot without having to move to a distant campus. Flexible Schedule. Although community colleges do have some clubs and organizations, extracurricular opportunities will be much more plentiful at four-year colleges and universities. However, a college and a university can often mean very different things depending on the context and the country. Most colleges offer bachelor’s degrees, and some colleges also have associate degrees. Many community colleges have articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities. Community College Pros and Cons . If students are torn between the two, they should visit the campuses and sit in on classes to get a feel of what they feel comfortable with. Admission standards for universities is much more variable. Two-year community or junior colleges often offer short-term programs, certificate programs, and associate degrees. Courses, Jobs, Salaries, What You Need to Know About New York State’s Free College Tuition, Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania, M.A., English, University of Pennsylvania, B.S., Materials Science & Engineering and Literature, MIT. 1. If you attend a “standard” college or university, then your class schedule typically follows a 9-5 day, much like a job would. University: A Brief Overview. Community College. Besides the time-frame needed to complete a degree, another big difference between a community college and a university is campus size. On the other hand, most public universities both provide education to students an… Since community colleges usually have a much lower overall student population, class sizes are also much smaller. What is a College? If you have a high school diploma or have earned a GED, you are eligible to attend a community college. By their nature, community colleges and universities necessitate two different types of professors: those who focus primarily on teaching and those who spend more time researching. For example, Williams College, Amherst College… A community college, (sometimes referred to as junior college), is a 2-year school that provides inexpensive, post-secondary education to students. Considerations include cost, which schools you can get accepted to based on your grades, the kind of learning environment that works best for you, and your desired career path. This point is worth reemphasizing: an extremely expensive private university can actually cost less than a community college for a student from a family with modest income. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education defines a university as a group of schools that typically offers many academic programs for undergraduate students, and advanced degrees such as master’s and doctorate degrees. Two-year community or junior colleges often offer short-term programs, certificate programs, and associate degrees. The University of California system charges over $13,000 for in-state students. Community college vs. university: which is better? It’s definitely cheaper, and a great way to satisfy your prerequisites before transferring to an expensive four-year college to complete your major. 5 (1) By Ella Chochrek. Some of the nation's most expensive private universities have a total price tag close to $80,000 a year. Making the decision between the two is exceptionally important to your future – after all, the four years you spend at college shape your future perhaps more powerfully than any other investment in your life. Article Type: Fight Club. In general, if you value highly involved students, an active social scene, and a lot of school spirit, a university is going to have more to offer than a community college. It is rare for a university to offer two-year associates degrees, although you will find a few two-year programs at regional public universities. This includes classes that focus on college-level reading and writing, mathematics, science and social science. Save on Tuition. A smaller institution that usually offers undergraduate degrees is considered a college. College is more suitable for those interested in more technical and vocational expertise, while university is better for those who are research-oriented and want graduate opportunities. Similarly, if you’re looking for a rah-rah environment with team sports and school pride, a four-year college is the place for you. The workload at a community college is significantly lighter than at a state university or a private college. For a private 4-year university, you can expect to cough up $32,410 per year in tuition and fees. This does not mean that community colleges don't have athletic teams and student clubs and organizations; many do. So what is the real difference between a college and a university? Of course, community college students have other costs to consider tuition and fees. Before the 1970s, community colleges in the United States were more commonly referred to as junior colleges. However, certain community college programs may have stricter admission requirements, such as those in nursing, law enforcement, allied health and engineering technology. Universities are much larger than community colleges; some universities in the United States have over a hundred thousand students. There is also the term \"community c… Sticker price, however, does not tell the whole story. One of the most difficult decisions facing college-bound students is the choice to attend a community college or a university. Attending a university is about more than academics and a degree. While costs are varied and depend upon a myriad of factors, it is … In contrast, community colleges charge about $3,660 on average per year for in-state students, according to the 2018 Trends in College Pricing report released by the College Board. Students attending community colleges are also able to live at home or remain in their local community while receiving their education, while most university students end up relocated to attend college. At a four-year residential university, the great majority of students will be involved in multiple clubs, and the options for getting involved in athletics will be far greater than at a community college. This is not a problem with community colleges, as nearly all have open admissions. Also, for those of us planning to attend universities, this is the perfect place to get your feet wet. According to several recent studies, students attending community colleges often participate in classroom discussion and experience one-on-one interaction with professors at a much higher rate than university students. Many students don't realize that if they plan on working while attending school, community college is hands down the best option. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, Biological and Biomedical They offer two- and/or three-year programs and award associate degrees. Meal plans are also offered at most universities. Community colleges also tend to offer some one-year and certificate programs for specific professions. Thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this video. Factors such as admissions essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation can play a significant role in a university's admissions decision. Sometimes experiencing a slice of campus life is the only way to know what you want. Most universities are largely residential—students live on or near campus for the entire academic year. Most will live in the residence halls, but depending on the school, some may live in fraternities, sororities, theme houses, or nearby off-campus housing. College and University: two words with similar meanings that are often used interchangeably. A four-year residential college would not be on option in such situations. For example, in-state tuition in the University of North Carolina system is around $7,000 a year. That is the core of the community college vs. university debate. Universities tend to be much pickier when it comes to admissions, which means you better be ready to do more than just submit an application. Universities can have selective admissions, and they award four-year bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees. But the majority of students won't be involved in these activities. Community colleges usually are not research hubs like universities because they have different missions. Community colleges used to be regarded as less academically challenging than traditional four-year universities. The most expensive universities also tend to have generous financial aid. That means you won’t see many classrooms with 200-300 students, and your professor might actually know you by name! However, some community college students must move closer to school, which leaves them in charge of rent and food. Commuter campuses tend to have far less going on when it comes to student life since students leave school when their classes are over. Community college is also becoming an increasingly affordable option in comparison to the sky high tuition of university and increasing unemployment rates. A smaller institution that usually offers undergraduate degrees is considered a college. However, before a college can apply for university status, there are a minimum of four requirements that must be met for at least five years: Programs. First on the list of differences between community colleges and universities is the type of degrees and programs offered. Although the amount of groups and clubs at community colleges are limi… College vs. University: The Actual Meaning. Bear in mind, however, that an open admissions policy does not mean that programs and classes won't fill up. The relatively slow pace and relaxed environment gives … So, if your college applications are looming, here are four key reasons to put community colleges versus universities on your academic radar: Cost: Community colleges are usually less expensive. College vs. university; In American English, college and university are generally used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between them. What is the difference? Across the board, community colleges are less expensive to attend than universities. Resource: 25 Best Value Colleges. University usually denotes a school that offers full undergraduate and graduate programs, while colleges usually offer more narrow programs and may have no graduate studies at all. Alongside degree programs, cost is probably the biggest difference between community colleges and universities--and one of the main factors when it comes to choosing a school! Community College vs. Law schools, business schools, and medical schools are almost always connected to universities, so MBA, JD, and MD degrees are awarded by universities. The highest degree offered by community colleges is a two-year associate's degree. The first step to attending college is getting in. Weighing the pros and cons of each can help you pick the best fit. One of the hardest decisions a high school graduate face is the choice between attending a Community College or a University. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education, or a secondary school.. Community colleges are almost always commuter campuses, so students live at home where they can save money on room, board, and many fees associated with residential campuses. If you want to earn a bachelor's degree, you'll need to attend a four-year college or university. Now that you have the major differences between community colleges and universities laid out in front of you, you should have a clearer idea of which type of school will work best for you and your individual needs. The debt that you acquired to attain the degree was more than offset by your increased lifetime earning potential. Generally speaking, community colleges exist solely to provide an education to their students that will hopefully result in gainful employment. Another big way community colleges and universities differ is in living arrangements. For many students, choosing their next steps after high school can be difficult. Many universities have holistic admissions policies and look at more than grades and test scores. Community colleges offer teaching instruction comparable to their four-year counterparts but won't saddle graduates with long term debt in the process. Nearly all community college students commute to school, and traditional college age students are likely to miss out on the experience of leaving home for college. University VS College: Which one is better? Some guarantee admission for all students who meet a certain GPA or standardized test threshold. Important Stats: There are probably a few community colleges near you. A community college will offer you comfort and a very tight-knit sense of community, a refreshing perk. In the U.S., \"college\" and \"university\" are frequently interchangeable and simply refer to a school at the tertiary level. Stony Brook University Typically, a community college is nonresidential and supported locally, regionally, and/or by the state government. This on-campus living adds another dimension to the overall cost of school and is known as room and board. After graduating from a community college, most students [citation needed] transfer to a four-year liberal arts college or university for two to three years to complete a bachelor's degree. The college vs. university decision can be a tough one. Receive a 2 month free trial by going to https://skl.sh/jubilee2Get your goodhuman crewneck (limited stock)! Thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this video. Most of the Ivy League schools, for example, have acceptance rates well below 10%. • Those looking to start with a job soon after completing their course can join community college instead of a university. Dr. Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with 20 years of experience helping students transition to college. A college (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. Both community colleges and universities offer a variety of programs of study, but universities typically have a much larger range of options and sometimes have smaller colleges within them (e.g., College of Education; College of Performing Arts). Along with access, low cost is one of the greatest benefits of community college. Some colleges, such as community colleges and junior colleges, may offer only two-year degrees. The community and junior colleges provide students with two-year degrees. That term is still used at some institutions. July 02, 2020 You’ve decided you want to go to college. Some colleges do offer graduate studies as well. Since most community colleges are publicly funded, they’re often accredited by the same institutions as the local four-year schools. As you decide whether or not a community college is right for you, be careful not to confuse the sticker price with the cost. According to 2011 statistics , the average tuition for public two year institutions was only $2,713, making a total of a little over $5,000 in total owed, not to mention the $1700 in Pell Grant Aid money offered to community college students. A community college, (sometimes referred to as junior college), is a 2-year school that provides inexpensive, post-secondary education to students. There are even community college and junior colleges that provide students with two-year degrees. • Community colleges prove cheaper than universities. Community college is a lot less expensive than university. Community College. To put it into perspective, community college tuition can be as little as around $3,500 per year, compared to up to around $35,000 for out of-state-students attending a public university. University tuition will typically cost 2 to 20 times as much as a community college. 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