Hello ndi nkem (my people)! What’s good? I hope everyone is doing well. This week has been filled with joy for me. I received my MCAT results and I was more than pleased. I will share my scores in a different post, when I talk about my study strategy. But in the meantime, you can check out my other MCAT related posts.
On to the matter of the day: Community college! Before moving to the US, I had never heard about community college. I was part of a program through the USA Embassy in my home country called EducationUSA. This program helped students who wanted to study in the US find schools, apply, and prepare for their visa interviews. But even this program never educated us about community colleges.
What is a community college?
Community colleges(CC) are junior colleges that offer college-level classes geared towards individuals living in that local area. They do grant degrees known as Associates degree, but not everyone who attends a CC wants to get a degree. Some want to transfer to a four-year college. Most students spend two years at a community college, after which they receive their degree and/or transfer. CCs are a hidden gem in the United States and I don’t think international students are educated about them enough.
Here are some reasons why you should attend a community college:
- Finances: This is probably the biggest reason. Community colleges are much cheaper than four-year universities. You are able to take your college classes at a fraction of the cost. Even with international student fees, the cost of attendance is still significantly less than a four-year college. Attending a CC reduces some of the financial burden often associated with coming to the US.
- Easier to get into: Because of the nature of CCs, they are very easy to get into. Most do not have any strict requirements such as SAT and ACT scores. Their application process is also very easy. I remember when I was applying to the US, I was very confused. The whole common app process was alien to me and I didn’t have a lot of guidance. I had no idea what to look for in a school. Going the CC route makes college application less stressful and less expensive. You only need to apply to that one CC and think about the rest later.
- Less academic pressure: CCs are home to a wide range of people: high school students taking college classes, traditional students, non-traditional students, and even students from 4-year institutions. Because of this, I find that their classes and course load is less stressful (this doesn’t mean it’s not still difficult). As an international student, this can be a good thing. It allows you to adjust to your new environment without the added pressure of hard classes. It also eases you into the US education system much better than a four-year university.
- Better prepared to transfer: For those who wish to continue on to four-year universities, CCs provide that opportunity. Many CCs have agreements with local universities making it almost guaranteed that you will have a spot. CCs also hold multiple college fairs exposing you to more colleges than your home country may have allowed. You also have the opportunity to build your application through academics, student involvement, and community engagement. Lastly, CCs have dedicated college advisors that can help you ensure that the classes you are taking fulfill the requirements at the college you plan to matriculate at.
- They grant I-20s: So I didn’t attend a CC because I didn’t know about them, but my sister did. When we were getting her package together, my mom was initially skeptical. She feared that CCs would not grant I-20s and as such, my sister would be unable to secure a student visa. We were wrong! Not only did she get an I-20, she also secured her visa. No one asked her why she was going to a CC instead of a four-year and it didn’t bring up any issues at the embassy. So contrary to popular opinion, going to a CC doesn’t make you ineligible for a student visa.
So what did I miss? Are there any other reasons why international students should go to community colleges? With the amount of money and strain that attending school in the US brings, anything that can ease that burden is a welcome development. I want as many people as possible to know that this is an option for them. It doesn’t stop you from eventually attending the school of your dreams. In fact, it can even help you.
Please continue to share my content. Reach out to me by email. Comment and like. I look forward to hearing from you all. Bye !