Community college vs. College in the US?


I was just wondering what the negative aspects of attending a community college (and then transferring to a university/college) vs. immediately attending a 4-yr university/college program in the US would be. This is assuming that the applicant is academically capable of being accepted into a 4-yr program directly.

Most importantly, would it have any impact on future job opportunities? Earning potential? Is there any stigmata associated with community colleges? Is it difficult to transfer from community colleges to universities?

And and in the event it's important - this is for the study of engineering. Thanks again!

Thanks so much for your help :)

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It doesn't make a lick of difference whether you go to one or the other. Your first two years are your absolute, most basic stuff no matter WHERE you go. You'll have to take the same things; you'll just pay extremely less for it. I paid $1500/semester versus $3000 a semester... I saved $6000 by going to community school for two years. (This was for in-state State school tuition... Out of state is MUCH more.)

    It doesn't have an impact on your job opportunities. They're looking at your performance, your qualifications, and what you can add to a company.

    It is not difficult to transfer. Many community colleges are often run by the state university system. My community college (Niagara County Community College) was affiliated with the State University of New York. I entered into a "dual admissions" agreement with SUNY College at Buffalo (Buffalo State College). This means that everything I took at NCCC would transfer over.

    I had a few friends that studied or are studying engineering in college and most of them started out at community college and transferred to the University at Buffalo.

    So, it can be done. (And it is smart to do so, if you can. It's a money saver.)

    Source(s): I received an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts: Humanities and Social Sciences from Niagara County Community College. I transferred to Buffalo State College and received my Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education (grades 7-12). I then completed my graduate program and received a Master of Science in Secondary English Education. (So, I've been there, done that. :-)
  • 1 decade ago

    In Engineering you need to start in engineering classes your freshman year. You cannot learn enough engineering classes in two years to succeed. If you go this way, you will enf up spending 3 years at the university after transferring.

    Somehow it has become common for many schools to recommend that high school graduates go to a community college then transfer to a 4 year school for the rest of their bachelor’s degree. Even to get an associates degree first.

    Do note that in Canada a community college is often just called a “college” and all 4 year schools are “universities”

    In reality, this path only makes sense in a few cases. It is not for the majority. Because from most community colleges, seldom more that 5% of their students will ever make the transfer. And some CCs do far better a job than others in making the transfer.

    The normal way is to go to a 4 year school right from the start.

    Going to a community college first is for when:

    • You cannot afford all 4 years at the 4 year school and you really need to save money.

    • Your grades are too low to get into the 4 year school right away

    • You are immature and not ready to go away to college. That is, you have never been away from home and you are going to be homesick if you go too far away from home.

    Otherwise you should only go to a CC if you are planning on only getting that much education.

    As for getting an associates and transferring be aware that the courses needed to get as associates are rarely what you need to transfer. Then you end up taking an extra year at the 4 year school anyway.

    The biggest issue is that universities do NOT coordinate their course requirement with what community colleges teach and it is likely in a lot of cases that upwards of half of your CC courses will not be accepted by the university. When a university updates a course, the CCs may not find out for years. Going to a 4 year school from the start is the best way to go unless you simply do not qualify.

    If you get your general education requirements at a cc first, and you have the slightest hiccup in getting your courses for your major in the other 2 years, you will be doing an extra semester or two.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's not that much of a difference

    You have to worry about your classes transferring to your new college

    Other than that it's not hard to transfer

    Basically at comm college you get all required courses out of the way and if you go to a 4 year college over all four years you take major courses as well as electives

    So I wouldn't really say one is better or worst than the other

    It's not going to effect your job outlook

    I know plenty of people that do this on purpose because they want to stay close to home for the first few college years

    It's not really a biggie

  • Moneywise, it's better to start with community college then transfer to University as a third year or Junior student. All you have to do is take classes that are transferrable to whichever school you are hoping to tranfer to. Also with some majors (depending on your major) it is advisable to go to a community college if an associate degree can get you started in the job market. Other majors need a bachelors degree at the very least to secure a job. so check the info out.

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Drop-out rates in community colleges (CC) are higher than four-years, because it's far less espensive and the student is likely less personally involved in general. But the cost is a huge plus for CC - the tuition for 2 or even 3 years of CC would likely be less than even just 1 year of university. The general education material is the same in CC or four-year. As long as you earn the degree from a four-year, the fact that you went to CC shouldn't matter. In fact, some would say it's impressive that one stayed in CC and transferred, considering how easy it would've been to drop out. Earning potential and job opportunities may be affected, however, but the four-year you graduate from. There is only stigma attached to CC if you let it. There is nothing shameful or wrong with CC, especially with the current economic state. I don't know personally how difficult it is to transfer once you've met the requirements, but my high school counselors told us it was easier to get into a four-year as a transferring junior than as a new freshman, because you've already proven yourself. As for your major of choice, as long as both the CC and university you want to transfer to have an adequate program for it, and are compatible for transfer, you should be fine. Though you should research if engineering is impacted where you want to transfer, as that may make it more difficult to get into. Good luck :)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Looks better on your transcript to not have a community college. However I doubt it will affect your job opportunity someday. A university offers more classes and may have better professors. Its no more difficult to transfer to a university from a community college than to another university. A university will have more resources and majors. In the end 2yrs community college than 2 years of university is significantly cheaper than 4yrs of university. You'll save around 30K in the end.

    Source(s): life experience
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