Community College and ESL Programs for International Students
Start Your Bachelor's Degree in the USA
Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make! For many reasons, community colleges in the United States are the first choice for international students.
Why International Students Choose Community Colleges
- Affordable tuition
- Smaller class sizes
- Easier entrance requirements
- To learn and improve English skills
- To earn a two-year Associate degree
- To transfer into four-year colleges and universities
Pathway to your Bachelor's Degree
There are more than 1,000 community colleges in the United States, enrolling nearly 6 million students each year with more than 500,000 associate degrees awarded annually. Many students begin their education at a community college and transfer to a four-year college or university to complete their bachelor's degree. Over the past four decades, many millions of students have taken advantage of this path to a bachelor's degree.
The path to your bachelor's degree is facilitated by agreements between community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. These official agreements identify which of the courses taught at the community college will meet both general education and major course requirements at the college or university.
Most community colleges have transfer centers that help students to have a smooth transition to four-year colleges and universities. Applications, catalogs and other resource materials are available for student use. Transfer centers also set up times and events for students to meet with representatives from various colleges and universities to discuss transfer programs, the campus and majors.
In the United States, it takes approximately four years to earn a bachelor's degree from a college or university. It may take longer if a student needs to take English as a Second Language courses, remedial classes, or is studying a high unit major. Many students find that attending a community college for their first two years of study is a more affordable way to earn college credit while exploring and deciding which four-year college or university is best.
Help Along the Way
It is advisable that all students work with counselors at the community college they choose to attend. Counselors are highly trained and are available to help students select the correct courses to meet their general education and major requirements. Counselors also assist students with the transition to life in the United States. Students work with counselors to discuss different campuses and transferring to the university or college of the student's choice.
Relationships with Four-Year Colleges & Universities
Many four-year colleges and universities work very hard to strengthen relationships with community colleges in their area. For example, in California, the University of California, referred to as UC, welcomes community college students. The UC system and the California community colleges have developed programs to help community college students with the transfer process. Last year, more than 13,000 students transferred from California's community colleges to UC campuses. Close to one-third of all UC's bachelor degrees were awarded to students who started out at a community college.
Support for International Students
Some community colleges offer special support services to help international students with transitioning to student life in America. For example, Sierra College in Rocklin, California has an International Students Office that provides services including admission assistance, new student orientation, USCIS status information, academic counseling, housing assistance, on-campus health center, transfer information and informational workshops.
As you explore and finally decide where to study, please consider the community colleges in the United States!