Community college is a popular, low-cost alternative to a 4-year college or university.

Think community college isn’t for you? Do you want to earn a US degree and save money at the same time? Have you decided you want to attend a US school after application deadlines have passed at major colleges and universities? If so, community college might offer great opportunities for you.

What is a community college?

A community college provides not only specialized classes and job training for students who want to earn a 2-year associate’s degree, but it also offers basic classes for students who eventually want to earn a BA or BS degree.

Community colleges often won’t have on-campus student housing options, and some have only a limited number of student activities and organizations available outside of class.

Why attend a community college?

The tuition at a community college is generally much less expensive than at a 4-year college or university. That means you can cut college tuition costs while taking core classes. In addition, community colleges are sometimes easier to attend. Score recommendations on tests like the SAT and ACT may be lower, and the application deadline can be much later at community colleges. Applications and essays are accepted at some community colleges until just a few months (or weeks!) before classes begin.

Can I still earn a bachelor’s degree?

Yes, but you will have to transfer to another college or university. Many students (both international and from the US) attend a community college for a year or two to complete basic, introductory classes that are required at almost all 4-year colleges and universities in the US. You even can earn a 2-year associate’s degree at your community college before transferring to another college for two or three additional years to earn a BA or BS degree. As soon as you know what school you want to transfer to, talk to advisers both there and at your community college. They can help you choose classes that will transfer to your new school. Attending a community college in the US actually can expand your options. Students who start at a community college can go on to top bachelor degree-granting programs. And the money you save by attending a community college can be just enough to make studying at an American college or university affordable — and a reality.