Community College – A Concept Gaining In Popularity
Over the past few years this conception of community college has taken root in many parts of the United States. Today a community college which is also known as a junior college, technical colleges, or city colleges can be defined as a higher education institution that offers a two year curriculum. The major difference between community colleges and four year college is their admission policies and on campus living. The key feature of community colleges is that they never promote a competitive application process. Any student who wants to enroll can generally have an admission. Though the open access policy may be true for some state run community colleges, but privately owned community colleges generally follow their own admission policies and have other criteria for admissions.
In community colleges, students are expected to live at home or live in their own apartments. There is no on-campus housing available on community college campuses. This is yet another important difference from most four year colleges where at least lower level students, live on campus. In addition to this, these colleges also serve rather a different demographic than four year colleges and universities. Their students are more likely to be first generation, minority, part-time students or those who are currently employed. The percentage of minority students in the total enrollment of community colleges is also significantly higher than in public four-year institutions.
Geographic, financial and educational access for all is primarily at the heart of most community college missions, and this can be easily seen in their fairly diverse course offerings that mostly deal with the diverse needs of community residents, including transfer education, continuing education, career education and small business/entrepreneurship development training. The size of these functions can differ largely based on institutional missions or the size and maturity of the particular institution.
These days, these colleges have cemented the way for online courses, and many students are opting different programs. Indeed as the recent research conducted by the Sloan Consortium, in past few years two-year community colleges have experienced the highest growth rate in online education, accounting for more than 50% of all online course enrollments. The major positive sign is that the enrollment in online courses at community colleges has even surpassed the numbers of all other higher education programs.
Ultimately, both community colleges and four year colleges offer students choices to pursue education in whatever format that makes sense for them. Knowing what is available and the cost of education that generally differ between community colleges and four year colleges can help potential students make smart decisions regarding their education.