Is Two-Year College For Me?

Community College StudentsBy: Helen Voelker
 
When you start to think about life after high school, there are many paths you can choose. One path you can take is attending a two-year school. Two-year schools are a great way to prepare for a bachelors degree or learn highly vocational skills that will launch you into the work force.  In today’s blog, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about two-year colleges in order to help you figure out, “Is two-year college for me?”
 
Q: What is the difference between a Junior College and a Community College?
A:  The term “Junior College” typically refers to private two-year institutions while the term “Community College” usually refers to publicly funded two-year institutions.
 
Q: What should I be thinking about when applying to a two-year school?
A: The good news is you should be thinking about a lot of the same things when looking to apply to both two and four-year schools. Some key points to consider are:

  • Location: Most two-year programs don’t offer student housing so you’ll need to make sure it’s an area where you can afford alternate housing or is close enough to live with your parents/relatives.
  • Academic Programs Available: Find out what programs the school offers. Be sure it offers your major, especially if you plan to transfer to a four-year university.
  • Cost: Check for financial aid and scholarships for merit and financial need.
  • Campus Life: What activities or resources are available outside of the classroom on campus? Is this a place where you will feel connected and happy?
  • Size of the Student Body: Class size student population, advisor-student ratio, etc.

 
Q: What are the steps for applying to a two-year school?
A: Here are some quick tips to help get you started!

  •  Use the guidelines above to research various two-year colleges you’re interested in.
  • Once you have chosen the schools you’re interested in attending see if they require the COMPASS, ASSET, or ACCUPLACER placement tests.  Then sign up to take those tests if necessary.
  • Request applications from each college. Most state Community Colleges use the same online application.
  • Consider whether you are interested in transferring to a four-year college. Talk to a school adviser about the transfer process at their institution now. You will have a much easier time transferring if you plan ahead.
  • Inquire about financial aid from each school.  Make sure you file your FAFSA by the deadline (go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm to check the deadline in your area) the earlier you file the better!

 
Whether you decide to get your Associate’s Degree or go on to receive your Bachelor’s Degree, two-year colleges are a great option for many students hoping to further their education. Yay, college!

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