Question: What’s the difference? I don’t really get it. And how does transferring from a community college into a real college work? After you finish the two years in a community college, do you start at the third year in a real college or do you have to start as a freshman? Why should I go to a four year college instead of a community college?
Answer: Community college IS “real college.” I think you mean 4-year college, which is no more real than community college.
To transfer between any colleges, you need to make sure to take courses that are likely to be accepted at you school you want to go to. Requirements vary from school to school but generally a college will only accept courses from other colleges that match courses they offer and in which you got a grade of C or better. If you were to spend two full years at a community college and then transfer for a 4-year school, how much time you would need to spend at the 4-year school (and what year you would be when you enter) depends entirely on how many of your classes transfer. In theory it’s possible to transfer 2 full years’ worth of coursework to the new school, meaning you would start as a junior and (unless something goes wrong once you’re at the 4-year school) you would graduate in 2 more years. However, in theory it’s also possible that none of your courses would transfer and you would have to start over again. Most likely, at least some of your courses would transfer. If you plan on going to community college with the intention of transferring elsewhere, you will need to make sure you take courses that are highly likely to transfer.
Community colleges are generally state-funded schools offering certificates and Associate’s degree programs. They exist to serve the community, particularly that portion of the community that would otherwise be unable to attend college due to lack of money and/or high enough grades. As a result, community colleges tend to have low acceptance requirements and may also have lower expectations for students who are enrolled that you would find at a 4-year college or university. Community colleges tend to offer a limited number of degrees, which also translates into a limited number of course offerings. The school’s other resources may also be limited. For example, the library may be small and the materials there will typically be those needed for specific programs and classes offered at the school. There aren’t many, if any, “frills.” There also may not be dorms (since most students live in the local community) or dorm space may be limited. A lot of people find that going to community college to take the general education classes required in most fields is a good way to save money. Unfortunately one of the results of this is that students CAN and DO get rejected from community college, but it usually only happens when the college has filled all open spots and can’t accept any more students.
If you want to get anything beyond an Associate’s degree (which you will need to do in many fields), you will have to go to a 4-year college or university at some point.