For many international students who dream of studying in the US, numerous concerns such as tuition rates and limited English proficiency can be a deterrent. However, one option students facing such obstacles should consider is American community college.
In fact, every year, hundreds of international students fulfill their goal of studying in the US by attending a community college. If you’re interested in studying abroad in the US, you might want to consider enrolling in a community college, too.
What is a Community College?
Unlike traditional four-year institutions, community colleges in the US are only two-year programs. After completing these two years of study, students earn an associate degree. Essentially, an associate degree confirms that you have completed your freshman and sophomore years of college and for many professions, such as nursing and early childhood teaching, is all that is required.
For this reason, many students who want to begin their careers early will attend a community college. Community colleges are also useful to those students who did not perform well in high school and want to improve their transcript and GPA in order to then transfer to a four-year institution.
Though some community colleges are now opening dorms, most remain commuter schools, which mean students do not live on campus but commute from a nearby town or city. It is also not uncommon to see both high school students and adult students attending community college classes.
What are the Benefits of Attending Community College?
Reduced Tuition Costs
As an international student, there are numerous benefits to attending a community college. One of the biggest is the cost of tuition. On average, community college tuition is 50 percent lower than that of four-year institutions. Given both the current exchange rates as well as the rising cost of US public and private school tuition, this can be a major advantage to international students who want to earn an American degree, but are concerned about the financial responsibility.
Relaxed Admission Requirements & Easy Transfer
It is also very easy to transfer from a community college to a traditional US college or university. So even if you intend to study for a full four years in America, by completing the first two years at a community college, you’ll still be earning your degree at a much lower cost.
In addition, the requirements for admission to some community colleges are more relaxed, and the deadline for admission can be later than four-year schools. This can make community colleges an excellent option for international students who decide late that they want to attend a US school.
Lower English Proficiency Scores
Another advantage to community college is that they are known to accept lower TOEFL and other English proficiency test scores. In some cases, they may even waive the requirement altogether. If you’re concerned about a low English proficiency score, community college might be the right solution.
Once you arrive on campus, your community college will provide its own language assessment and ensure that you have the help you need to succeed. Just like many four-year schools, community colleges often have specific staff or an international office to guide students from other countries through the admissions process or help them adjust to life in the US.
That’s why community colleges can serve as a great stepping stone for international students who are less fluent in English. You’ll have two full years of academic study in the US to improve your language skills and adjust to American academics before transferring to a four-year school.
More Focused Attention
Speaking of, yet another great benefit of community college is that classes are smaller, which means you’ll receive more attention from your professor and be able to play a more active role in class discussions. This, too, will allow you to further improve your English as well as help you get accustom to US style teaching and grading.
Live Your Dreams
At this very moment, there are hundreds of international students taking advantage of the many benefits of community college. If you’re an international student who dreams of studying abroad in the US, but are worried about issues such as tuition costs and language proficiency, community college could help you achieve your dream, too.
Start researching community colleges today and learn how you can take advantage of all the benefits they have to offer.