Why attend Community College instead of a 4-year college?
Why would a student attend a community college instead of a 4-year college and what’s the difference? Community colleges allow students to do their first two years of a four-year undergraduate degree program. Students can transfer the credits earned during the two years at the community college toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university. For example, students have the option to go for 4 years to the University of California-Davis (4-year college) or to go to community college for the first two years (i.e Santa Barbara City College) and then transfer to the University of California-Davis for the third and fourth year.
If a student wants to enter to UC Davis directly, s/he must have a high level of English, score high in the SAT test and have a high GPA in high school. Instead, the student can start their studies at a community college, without having to take the SAT or the TOEFL exams. After studying four years, his/her diploma will be from UC Davis and the first two years at a community college will not be mentioned.
Community colleges are a great choice for international students because they offer smaller class sizes than larger schools, meaning students can find more personal attention and one-on-one time with instructors. This can be a plus, especially to international students who like to learn at their own pace and ask plenty of questions as they go.
Things to consider when choosing a community college
What resources or features does a college need to offer to be a good fit for international students? There are certain things that you have to consider before choosing your best community college. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before choosing your best option.
● Does the community college have on-campus housing?
● Will the community college provide me with the opportunity to do internships?
● What is the school population of international students? (We recommend that the school has at least 50 international students)
● Does it offer a TAG agreement with 4-year colleges?
Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program. What does it mean?
There are nearly 1,700 community colleges in the United States but only 10% are great for international students because they offer housing and transfer admission guarantee (TAG). A TAG program is a contractual agreement between the student, the community college and the four-year college or university. Students must meet certain requirements during the first two years at the community college to be eligible for a TAG program.
1) Typically, a bachelor’s program (4-year degree) consists of 120 credits, which is equivalent to 40 courses of 3 credits each. Therefore, in order to be eligible for the TAG program and be automatically transferred to a university, students must complete 60 transferable credits during the first two years at the community college.
2) Students must finish the first two years at the community college with a minimum GPA of 3.2 out of 4 points (higher GPA is required for some majors and colleges). This is considered around a B+ grade (87% out of 100%).
The student is not obligated to transfer to the four-year college or university, if their plans change during their studies.
Examples of Community Colleges that offer TAG programs
Santa Barbara City College, Lane Community College, Green River college and Central Florida Community College are great examples of community colleges that offer TAG programs.
Santa Barbara City College is ranked as the number 1 community college in the USA. SBCC is just steps from California’s sunny beaches and it has a very high transfer rate. There are over 100 students from Santa Barbara City College who get accepted to UC Berkley.
Lane Community College offers TOP university transfer options, internships and Optional Practical Training. It has scholarships available and it provides students with fully furnished apartments. Lane Community College has a safe environment on campus and in the community.
At Green River Community College students can choose from a wide variety of transfer degrees, bachelor of applied science degrees, career and technical education, pre-college and basic skills courses. An example of a university that receives lots of students from Green River Community College is Cornell University. Even though students are not offered transfer admission guarantee from Cornell University, top students from Green River Community College get accepted.
Central Florida Community College has an affordable tuition and it has a safe and modern campus with high-tech classrooms. University of Miami, University of Central Florida, Florida State University and University of South Florida are examples of schools that have TAG agreements with Central Florida Community College and receive lots of students from this community college.
Save some money!
While a regular University costs approximately $60,000/year, most community colleges cost $20,000/year. Community colleges allow families to save approximately $40,000 for the first and the second year and give students the opportunity to improve their English (plus they do not need to take the SAT!) and gain transferable credits. Another great advantage of attending community college is that Universities will most likely offer scholarships to students who have attended community college!
If you’re looking to improve your English, save money, and still have a great college experience, Community College is the right place for you!