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Community and Junior Colleges

Community Colleges are public postsecondary institutions that offer certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs designed to prepare students for occupations and professions as well as transfer to bachelor’s degree programs. These institutions serve both traditional age students and adults, and provide opportunities for people to earn GED high school equivalency certificates, take occasional courses for personal or professional benefit, or enroll in full programs of studies. A large proportion of community college students are not enrolled in degree programs but have other educational goals.

Most community colleges are commuter institutions that serve local residents and do not operate student housing facilities.

Admissions to community colleges tends to be open to anyone who has a high school diploma or the equivalent, with the exception of some technical and professional programs that require certain additional qualifications. This admissions picture does not, however, mean that community colleges have low standards. The requirements for entering and completing technical and professional programs are often regulated by state authorities and accrediting associations, just as the requirements for being eligible to transfer to a bachelor’s program are set by the admitting institution. Such requirements can be stiff and result in high attrition rates. The “second chance” that community colleges give many students does not necessarily mean “second class.”

Article excerpted from the U.S. Network for Education Information.

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