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The Difference Between Two-Year Colleges and Community Colleges

by Sav Keo

Community colleges, sometimes known as a two-year colleges or technical schools, are different from four-year colleges and universities. Although requirements and difficulty can differ within each respective type of college, most adhere to the same course of study in their category. Depending on the type of degree you are seeking, or what occupational field you want to go down, each type of college has its benefits.

Why Go to Community College?

Many students choose to go to a two-year college, or community college, for a wide number of reasons. Community colleges often act as a great refresher course for students before going to a full university. Oftentimes, students will be able to receive more support from educators and staff because of its smaller student body. Certification and training in specified technical occupations can be found at many two-year colleges as well, and the cost of tuition at a community college is significantly less than at a university.

The Two-Year College Student

Unlike a typical university student, an individual enrolled in a two-year college is usually classified as non-traditional. Community colleges usually have less rigid academic courses and are great for those who are coming back to school after a long hiatus, those with families and personal schedules that are strenuous, and those who desire a better understanding of basic concepts. Students that need a grade point average boost before they can be eligible for a four-year university often continue their studies at two year colleges.

Academics of Two-Year Colleges

The workload of a two-year college is often less rigid and difficult than that of a typical university. The entrance exams to enter a two-year college are usually much different from a four year university. Courses are available at lower levels and touch upon fundamental concepts, such as grammar and sentence structure for an English class, than would be found at a four-year university. The selection of degree paths will also be considerably more narrow at a community college although many students often use them as stepping stones for larger institutions.

Community College Degree Programs

All community colleges offer associate degree programs. Associate degrees can usually be completed in two years or less and allow students the ability to progress sooner in the workforce than a four-year bachelor's degree. However, since an associate's degree constitutes the lower rung of academic degrees, the job choices may be limited. Many students opt to complete core degree classes in these programs and then move on to universities to attain their bachelor's degrees. Special certifications in technical labor courses, such as air conditioning or hairdressing, can also be found in two-year colleges.

About the Author

Sav Keo has been a freelance writer and editor since 2009. She received her Bachelor's degree in English literature and Journalism from Georgia State University and has written for several cultural and academic publications, including "Creative Loafing" and "The Signal." Sav is an Atlanta native and when she is not taking red pen to paper, she can be found devouring zines over a pot of coffee.

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