Two-Year vs Four-Year Colleges: Do You Know How To Choose?

The great news is you have choices! You can decide to go to college after high school or not to go. You can decide to postpone college until you’re ready developmentally and/or financially. You can decide to go to a community college or you can decide to go to a 4-year college or you can decide to do an online school.
However, with choices comes the next step…making a good decision. If you’ve decided to go to college, will it be a 2-year or 4-year college? Are you aware that there could be a wrong choice for you? Right for you or wrong for you can be determined by learning the differences between the two and what they both have to offer. Your choice can ultimately influence your success or failure.

These may be some reasons a 2-year college might suit you best. If:
– Money (tuition) is an issue. Community college is astronomically cheaper! Included in the cost of attendance is not room and board and the as sundry of other fees associated with attending a 4-year school.
– You want to get your general education courses out of the way. Typically, courses like English, Social Science, Humanities, [Math and Science providing you won’t be a math, science, technology or engineering (STEM) major] are courses that transfer to most 4-year colleges.
– You prefer smaller class sizes. Many freshman level general education courses at larger 4-year colleges can have over 200 students in them and are taught by Graduate Assistants, not professors. In community colleges the faculty to student ration is much smaller.
– Your high school grades/test scores are not good. If you could not be admitted to a 4-year school or did not try because of your grades or low test scores, community college could be for you. In most cases, passing at least 24 credit hours at the community college will meet transfer guidelines at 4-year colleges. Check beforehand with the school(s) you would want to transfer to in order to find out their transfer requirements. Also, graduating from a 2-year school with an Associate’s Degree will guarantee you admission to most 4-year colleges in Virginia.

This may help you decide if a 4-year college is best for you:
– You desire a well-rounded campus experience. You want to experience living away from home, roommates, clubs and organizations, sporting events, groups like fraternities and sororities, speakers coming in to discuss politics, books, culture etc… and diversity.
– You (or your parents) can afford it. If you can attend without going into debt by paying and/or being awarded scholarships. So many students are leaving college with immeasurable debt that keeps them from enjoying the fruits of their labor once they find jobs.
– You are interested in taking a more broad range of courses. 4-year colleges offer a wide variety of courses to expand student’s horizons. Students can study abroad or engage in off-campus learning opportunities.
– You are concerned about the level of academic preparation you will receive. Many 4-year college instructors have published (written) materials in their fields, have been involved in research and are very qualified to teach in their chosen fields.
Now you are hopefully armed with enough information to have you thinking about which option you prefer, 2-year or 4-year college. Whatever your decision, be prepared, give it your all and make the choice that works for you.