For many students, two-year colleges provide a chance to prepare for further education, to learn an occupational skill, or to change careers. Students who complete these two-year programs earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree. You can most often transfer credits earned at a two-year college to a four-year college or university. Some courses of study lead to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. These are usually occupation-specific degrees (e.g., automotive technician). Some of the AAS degree coursework can be transferred to a four-year college, but some of it cannot.
These schools offer liberal arts subjects in addition to training in specific occupations, such as hotel management, auto mechanics, marketing, computer programming, or dental assisting. Most community colleges have remedial or developmental courses that can help you upgrade your basic academic skills, if needed.
Private Junior Colleges
Most private junior colleges are small, residential schools that prepare students for transfer to a four-year liberal arts college. Some private junior colleges offer occupational training. Entrance examinations are usually required, however, in many cases, work experience and extracurricular activities are also considered in the admissions process. Students who complete the two-year program earn an AA degree.
Four-year colleges and undergraduate university programs, including four-year technical schools, vary in tradition, size, admissions criteria, academic standards, course offerings, student population, location and cost. Students who complete a four-year course of study earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
Most colleges or undergraduate universities will expect you to sample a variety of courses during your first two years. You will then be expected to focus on your major during your last two years. Although requirements for graduation differ widely from school to school, most colleges require that you earn a certain number of credits in English and in foreign languages.