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Arya College Cousellor Arun Arya

Prof. (Dr.) Arun Arya

Contact for Admission

Arun College Cousellor Arya

Prof. (Dr.) Arun Arya

University Vs Community Colleges: Where should you start?

Difference Between University Vs Community Colleges

Everyone should know the major difference between the university and community colleges if you are confused between the two. Start reading more and more to get an informed decision based on the next step in your education.

In some cases, the difficult part about deciding which college to attend is not based on the type of degree you pursue. Instead, most of the students start their college search with the idea that a four-year university is their only option. However, other students require much more consideration to make a decision.

In earlier days, a four-year university course seems prestigious and practical professional preparation when compared to two-year counterparts. However, for universities, the prices of education tend to rise and community colleges have expanded their fields of study and improve their quality. With this, the field of higher education is getting changing every day.

Today, the enrollment in community college is increasing at top colleges across the country. On the other hand, four-year institutions have a small drop in the student population for years. There are some of the reasons why a large number of students might choose community college.

Two Types of colleges

As a college aspirant, you have a great idea of where you want to go or which degree you want to choose for your career. When it comes to your education, you might be faceless choices in this. But, one of the biggest differences is to choose between both the types of colleges. So that you can make the right decision about your future with all the information you have for two of these colleges, be it a community college or a regular university degree.

Degrees and Programs Offered

The first and foremost factor of these differences to understand is the types of programs and degrees offered. Sometimes, community colleges are referred to as two-year colleges. Most of community colleges offer associate degree programs that completes typically in two or fewer years, depending the status of the enrollment. Associate degrees mainly used on their own for jobs that require a two-year degree or help you to prepare for the university transfer. In addition, the community colleges also offer diploma programs and the short-term certificate that trains you for a specific career.

Generally, universities offer programs that result in Master’s, Bachelor’s and Doctoral degrees and take 4 years or more to complete. Both the universities and community colleges offer different programs of study. But universities have a large range of options and smaller colleges within them, in some cases.


Probably, cost creates the biggest difference between universities and colleges and important factors to consider. If we compare both, community colleges are much cheaper than the university programs. In fact, the College Board reports that the average annual cost of tuition and fees is less for district students, while the four-year university course takes higher fees for out-of-state students.

Due to these huge differences in costs, most of the students complete a two-year degree program at their local community college and transfer to a university to complete their graduate studies and earn a higher degree. For this, do not forget to ensure your credits and degree will transfer when the time comes automatically.

Admission Requirements

Typically, community colleges have less strict requirements in terms of education than universities. In fact, many of them have open policies for admission, which means, any person who graduates from high school can get accepted easily. However, some of the community colleges' programs have strict requirements for admission, especially in engineering colleges.

Usually, it is easy to pick universities when we talk about admissions. For this, you need to get ready to submit your application once you have made your degree decision. For instance, some universities have requirements that include certain courses and earn good grades in school, receive a minimum score on the ACT and SAT exams, complete essay questions and more.

Living Arrangements

University and community colleges have a difference in living arrangements too. Community colleges do not offer housing to their students, in most of the cases but universities always offer dormitories and on-campus apartment complexes. At most of universities, meal plans are also offered. The On-Campus living adds different dimensions to the overall costs, also known as boards and rooms.

Students who attend community college live at home and drive to school. It helps them to save lots of money. However, some students in a community college must move closer to school. It leaves them in charge of food and rent. Depending on location, this may or may not be higher than a board or room at 4-year universities.

Class Sizes

Class size is an important factor to consider when deciding on a community college or a university. Universities tend to have much larger class sizes due to the number of candidates attending school and it creates less one-on-one attention from the teachers for their students. Since community colleges usually have low student population and class sizes while comparing to others. In fact, the average class size at community colleges is found to be range from 25-35, while classes at universities can have 150-300 students. One-on-one teacher attention creates a huge impact on your college decision.


Now, you understood the major difference between the two-year community college and four or more years of a university degree. Make yourself clear that which type of idea will best work for you and your individual needs. Always keep in mind that the major difference between both lies in their degrees, cost, admission requirements, living arrangements and class sizes while making your decision.

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