Need to know the difference among them? How will knowing the difference between Community College & College will help you? Yes! To choose among them!

Yes! It is a crucial decision to choose between these two, we hope this will help you to understand better and make a wise choice that suits you… Here we go with the differences, pros & cons and the best of them…


First of all, what do you mean by the word college?

Yes! An educational institution or organization, particularly the one that provides either higher or specialized education or professional &/or vocational training.

The word “college” refers to a constituent part of the university or to a tertiary educational institution that awards the degree.

In general “college” & “university” are used interchangeably, but an exception to United Kingdom, Oceania, South Asia, Southern Africa & Canada, as here “college” may refer to a secondary or high school, etc that does not have university status, i.e., a higher education provider that does not have its own degree-awarding powers or being a constituent part of a university.

Community College

Now, what is a community college? No doubt it is a type of educational institution!

The term “Community College” usually refers to a higher educational institution that offers workforce education & college transfer academic programs for graduates from high school. But the term has different meanings in different countries. Yes! It is not the same across the countries. Let us see few examples:

  • Australia:

In Australia, “community college” refers to small private business running short courses generally of a self-improvement or of hobbyist nature.

  • United Kingdom:

In the UK, except Scotland, a community college serves as a school, which does not alone provide education to the school-age population of the locality, but also to the adults and other members of the community.

This education includes sports, adult literacy and lifestyle education along with other majors.

  • United States:

In the USA, a community college is also called a junior college or technical college, or City College, is primarily two-year public institution that provides lower-level tertiary education, which is also known as continuing education, and grants certificates, diplomas and associate degrees.

  • Canada:

Community colleges in Canada are government administered. They are post-secondary institutions that offer 1 to 2-year academics, pre-professional certificates, diplomas, associate degrees & certain specialized bachelor’s degrees.

Community colleges are known as institutes, institutes of technology, technical colleges, regional colleges, university colleges, or simply colleges. There are more than 150 community colleges in Canada.

  • India:

In India, Community colleges offer courses such as diplomas, advanced diplomas, certificate courses, etc, that usually extends from 6 months to two years. University Grants Commission has recognized 98 community colleges in India.

  • Malaysia:

In Malaysia, Community colleges are a network of educational institutions that offers vocational and technical skills training at all levels for the school’s leavers, before they actually enter into the workforce.

  • Philippines:

In the Philippines, a community school acts as an elementary or secondary school during the daytime and in the nights it converts into a community college, offering night classes.

Differences between Community College & College

Although Community Colleges and traditional or regular colleges serve the same purpose, there are certain differences and similarities among them such as the expenses, sizes, learning environment, academic quality, etc.

Let us consider them before making the choice among them. Here we go with the differences between Community College & Traditional or Regular College:

Areas of Difference Community College College
Degrees and Programs offered *        Offers associate degrees and is usually referred to as 2-year colleges, as it mostly offer degree programs that are typically completed in two years or less.

*        Also offers short-term certificate & diploma programs.

*        Offers a variety of programs of study, but is less than a college.

*        Offers programs that result in Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees

*        Offers a variety of programs of study, with a much larger range of options & in some cases, has smaller colleges within them.

Cost *        Much cheaper compared to traditional colleges. *        College is much more expensive than Community colleges.
Class Size *        Much smaller size of class room strength that enables one on one attention from teachers. (25 and lesser) *        Much larger class sizes lead to less one on one attention from teachers. (100 and more)
Academic Quality *        The academic quality has improved over the last 2 decades.

*        Mostly young and less experienced professors along with few well-versed professors teach in community colleges.

*        Oriented towards professional degree programs.

*        Learning is majorly based on teaching.

*        Posses’ good standards of academics in all its fields.

*        Highly experienced and well-versed professors teach in traditional colleges.

*        Oriented towards academic/knowledge-based degrees.

*        Gives priority for research-based teaching and learning process in academics.

Admission Requirements *        Has less strict admission requirements compared to colleges.

*        Has open admission policies, i.e. anybody who is graduated from high school and applied get accepted.

*        Students with low GPA takes up a chance to study in Community colleges and to increase their capability of transferring into a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Colleges.

*        They rarely consider standardized test score though few may be strict with such requirements not all.

*        Has highly strict and particular about admission requirements compared to community colleges.
Flexibility & Workload *        Highly flexible designed in such a way to cater to students who are working and have families of their own.

*        Offers more night and weekend classes.

*        Limited Credit hours in each semester

*        Less work loaded academics

*        Attendance is not a compulsory requirement.

*        The flexibility in schedule is not available in traditional colleges.

*        Mostly does not offer any night or weekend classes.

*        Credit hours are not limited or reduced for many reasons.

*        The workload of academics is usually more.

*        Attendance is a compulsory requirement.

Transferring Credits *        The general credits acquired from two-year community colleges are transferable to a regular traditional college to earn a bachelor’s degree in a 4-year study.

*        Community colleges across the world make sure that their associate’s degrees match the general education requirements of traditional universities.

*        Not all community credits are transferable, Please check with your colleges or academic advisors personally

*        Not transferable if the college lacks program-specific accreditation.


Campus Life & Student Culture *        Community colleges have clubs and organizations, but campus life is not an integral part of the college atmosphere.

*        Most of the community colleges do not invest much on campus facilities, such as athletic programs or other student organizations

*        Regular or traditional colleges have campus life as an integral part of their learning environment, such as dorm rooms, extracurricular activities, lively social scenes with clubs, and organizations, etc.


Concluding Thoughts:                                                                                                      

Here, we have laid out the major differences among the community colleges and traditional colleges, to help you in determining the best for you. While deciding on which college to take up after your graduation from high school, keep in mind that every individual is different, your priorities are different from others’, think through your priorities and what do you wish to gain from your higher education, whether you need campus facilities, sports and other much more robust student life, or very economical and at the same time quality education and time for your family and other part-time work, etc, your decision should be in accordance with your future academic and professional ambitions. Neither of your choices is going to be worse or better, both community college and traditional colleges provide you with quality education. Bottom of Form

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