Immigration. Travel. Living.

Study in the USA. The cheapest way to immigrate to the USA. 

The cheapest way to study in the USA for foreigners is to go to Community colleges that are conducted on a two-year program. Graduates of these colleges are awarded an associate degree, which allows students to work in junior positions or continue their studies at the university.

Community Colleges in the United States offer a short and comfortable transition to US universities. The main difference between Community college and university is that Community colleges provide practical skills that allow you to quickly get used to the labor market in junior positions. The workload in two-year colleges is slightly less than at the university. Graduates who complete community colleges can continue their studies at a four-year college or university.

Types of community colleges

According to various estimates, up to half of the students in the United States studied at Community colleges; in total, there are about 1,500 community colleges in this country. 

Most are funded by the state, but there are also private two-year schools. Community colleges can be subdivided into: 

  • primary  (Junior College);
  • technical  (Technical College);
  • city  (City College).

Community colleges offer associate degree programs, Intensive English Programs, and Gap Years (a preparatory program that occurs in the intermediate year between leaving school and entering a college or university). 

Moreover, Community colleges also have one-year programs in one direction or another, at the end of which a certificate is issued.

Transfer procedure from a two-year college to university

A two-year college graduate with an associate degree can go to any university in the United States, and his credits are likely to be transferred to a four-year college or university. Today, some Community colleges and universities have agreements on dual admission to both college and university (Dual Admission) or guaranteed admission programs in case of successful college graduation (Guaranteed Admission).

For example, the City University of New York has six colleges. There are three dozen colleges at the State University of New York. In these educational institutions, transfer from college to university is possible with the help of double or guaranteed admission.

But more often colleges and universities adhere to the Articulation Agreement. As a rule, one college has an Articulation Agreement with several US universities. For example, the famous American Academy of Dramatic Arts also awards Associate Degree degrees, after which associates have the opportunity to transfer to universities and colleges to continue their studies and obtain a bachelor’s degree and above. 

The Academy collaborates, for example, with St. John’s University, Antioch University Los Angeles, Hunter College, and Oklahoma City University. When transferring to these universities, the credits acquired at the academy will be credited: in other words, associates will be able to immediately enter the third year of the chosen university or college.

Some colleges have international agreements: for example, graduates of Houston Community College can continue their studies at the Saigon Institute of Technology.

Arrangement and infrastructure Community colleges

Many community colleges offer on-campus accommodation. Besides, international students have access to options such as homestay accommodation or in a rented apartment. On the campuses of two-year colleges are educational buildings, libraries, art centers, museums, cafeterias. Often, college campuses have their radio stations, shops, and malls. Laboratories are equipped in technical colleges.

Community colleges have been renowned for their achievements in sports for decades: many graduates become famous athletes, and this is no coincidence. All community college campuses have gyms, soccer fields, and various sports grounds.

Pros of studying at Community colleges

  • A more flexible approach to enrolling international students
  • As a rule, it is enough to have a high school diploma and know English at the TOEFL iBT 60 or IELTS 5.5 level. For those with limited English proficiency, colleges offer Bridge programs. They allow you to enroll in training and receive a student visa and full-fledged student status and start academic studies after improving your language skills.
  • Each student has a mentor who advises him on academic issues and issues of choice and admission to a university.
  • The small size of study groups. Unlike university classrooms with 300 students, an average of 30 students study here in one classroom. Accordingly, this makes it possible for a more individual approach and participation of the teacher in the learning process of each student, which increases their academic performance.
  • Wide variety of academic subjects. When transferring (transfer) to the 3rd year of the university, it is important to score high points in some subjects. A large selection of subjects makes it easier to transfer to a rating university.
  • Modern material and technical equipment of the educational process and first-class student service.
  • Social, cultural, and household support provided by the department for work with foreign students.
  • After two years of study, the student receives an Associate Degree.
  • The possibility of transferring directly to the third year of the university under direct transfer (transfer) agreements to continue education up to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
  • Finally, community college tuition fees are significantly lower than university or boarding schools.
  • It should also be remembered that Community college has social scholarship programs, that is, the amount can be reduced through financial assistance.
  • Studying at Community college helps you decide if this is your specialty. Yes, in many US universities, the final specialty can be determined only after a year, or even more. But training at Community college, again, is much cheaper.
  • The admission age of international students to community colleges is 16. Many universities accept applicants only from the age of 18.

Requirements for admission to Community colleges

Two-year colleges have the advantage that applicants do not need to take exams and tests. It is enough to provide a high school diploma/certificate. Foreign students must prove their knowledge of the English language, however, this requirement is often conditional: even with average TOEFL / IELTS scores, people can be admitted to college if the applicant undertakes to improve English within a few weeks. Some colleges may require a student financial statement.

At the time of college admission, the applicant must be 16 years old.

Applications for admission can be submitted on the official websites of the selected colleges.

Community college academic calendar and credit system

Typically, the community college school year begins in September and ends in August. Training is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks, at the end of each test and exams are held. In the summer, future associates go on vacation.

To get an associate’s degree, you need to have about 60 credits, which corresponds exactly to two years of study. Recall that one credit is 50 minutes of class work per week for one semester (a semester equals 15 weeks).

Prospects for graduating from community colleges

Of course, a college associate’s degree does not offer the same perspectives as a university degree with a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, there has recently been a strong consensus that recent two-year college graduates earn the same and sometimes higher salaries than recent four-year college graduates, who are often also saddled with high-cost tuition loans. 

The fact is that the labor market has increased the demand for employees with average skills: the economy needs junior and middle medical personnel, kindergarten teachers, computer engineers, machinists, etc. Associate diplomas are more and more appreciated in the labor market. Today we can say that getting an associate diploma is beneficial in the short term, and a university diploma in the long term. Studying in the Community college is the cheapest way to immigrate to the USA. 

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