Education options: Two-year colleges

If you compare experiences of first-year college students at community/technical colleges with those of university students, you might be in for a surprise. Take a look at some characteristics of a two year school:
  • Almost never uses lecture halls, teaching assistants, or the large-group methods of the four-year university.
  • Instructors and their students are typically on a first-name basis.
  • Most two-year college instructors come directly from industry, which means that students often have a valuable reference when they apply for jobs.
The two-year college system is based on gaining practical knowledge to learn a trade or skill; you may never need a four-year degree. Plus, public two-year community and technical colleges are far and away the most inexpensive schools in the country, with tuition rates often half those of four-year public universities. Your education award, in fact, may cover the entire tuition for your associate degree.
Of course, you may eventually want to earn that bachelor's degree. Ask your advisor about which degrees will transfer credit-for-credit into a four-year degree and which schools have an "articulation agreement" with your community college.

Bottom line:

Is a two-year college right for you? If you're mostly interested in a specific skill or trade, or if you are interested in a four-year degree but want to save money by earning a transferable associate degree first, then this could be the way to go. Some two-year colleges that have AmeriCorps programs include Sauk Valley Community College in Illinois and Salt Lake Community College in Utah.

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