Choose from 3 options when you study at a college or university in America.

You can choose from thousands of colleges and universities in America, but nearly all fit into one of three categories:

  • Community Colleges
  • Undergraduate Colleges and Universities
  • Graduate Colleges and Universities

Which should you choose?

Community Colleges

A community college offers associate’s degrees that you can earn in two years. Many students who attend a community college eventually transfer to a different college or university, usually to earn their bachelor’s degree.
Community colleges in America often won’t have on-campus dorms or student housing, and you may find a limited number of student activities, clubs and sports teams. However, community colleges are generally more inexpensive than four-year colleges and universities, making them a good option for cash-strapped students.

Undergraduate Colleges and Universities in America

Students earn BA and BS degrees at undergraduate colleges and universities in America. Most degree programs are designed to be completed in four years. Public colleges and universities rely on money from the state where they are located. Annual tuition costs less for students who are residents of that same state. Private colleges and universities don’t rely on state funds, and tuition is the same for all students no matter where they reside. At many large schools you can choose from dozens of majors and hundreds of classes. Or you may choose to attend a school focusing on a field such as technology, music, culinary arts or engineering. You also could attend other specialized schools, such as a single-sex college or a college affiliated with a specific religion.

Graduate Colleges and Universities

Students who have earned a US bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in another country can apply to US graduate schools. You can earn a master’s degree in some fields in as little as one year. Some types of graduate degrees, however, require years of classes and research. A doctoral degree (also known as a PhD) is the highest academic degree in America. In addition, some jobs (such as lawyers, doctors and veterinarians) require a graduate degree before you can get a position in that field.

Choose the School that Meets Your Needs

The type of college degree you want to earn and the type of field you want to work in will help you decide which kind of college or university in America you should attend. Whether you are a new college student or have already completed years of higher education in the US or another country, you will find colleges and universities in America that meet your needs.