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A junior college, often also called a community college, is a school that may offer a diverse number of subjects, certification programs, and Associates in Arts (also called Associates of Arts) degrees. Essentially the junior college can function as the first two years of college study, with many students transferring to four-year colleges in their junior year.
Sometimes the junior college offers certification programs, which may or may not be part of a four-year course of study. Many people get licensure for different specialties in medicine, like licensed vocational nursing (LVN) or studies in radiology that might be required to become an x-ray technician or a sonographer. Additionally, depending upon the junior college, specialty programs in auto mechanics, computer programming, business management, electrical work, or police or fire department work may be available.
What is wonderful about most public junior colleges is that they are generally the least expensive way to either complete the first two years of education for college or to specialize in a particular field that does not require a four-year degree. The programs of the junior college may be just as good, or better, than those offered by more expensive training schools. A junior college may also offer people weekend, evening, or online classes, which facilitate working while attending college.
Often, a public junior college does not base admission on grade performance in high school. This can make college an option for those who did not do well in the high school setting. Frequently, the junior college will require applicants to take English and Mathematics placement testing. The junior college tends to offer remedial courses for students who need additional help passing certain classes that are requirements for graduation or certification.
When four-year universities examine applicants from junior colleges, they may not require SAT or ACT scores. Scholarships and admission may be based on junior college performance only, instead of high school transcripts. This can help the student who had a rough start in high school. Some students also agree to attend a junior college with guaranteed placement at a four-year university after completing the junior college program.
For many, the junior college is a great place to start learning about different career options. Students may come from more diverse backgrounds and the median age of students may be much older than that of a traditional university. Many people begin new careers midway through life with study at a junior college.
A junior college may also offer courses to some high school students who need to take additional courses to qualify for the more competitive universities. Students might take more advanced courses in languages or science, for example. This may help them become more attractive applicants to Ivy League schools.
Further, many junior colleges offer summer programs for younger students, or community enrichment programs available to anyone 18 or older. Sometimes a junior college will have a working relationship with a senior center in order to offer courses or lectures of interests to seniors.
Most instructors at the junior college level have a Master’s Degree or equivalent experience in their field. In highly competitive job markets, a junior college may even require job candidates to hold a Ph.D. The emphasis of instructors, however, is on instruction rather than publication. This often creates a more intimate learning environment for students who have direct access to their teachers, rather than having to participate in seminars led by teaching assistants.
This model of instruction may be of particular benefit to students who still require the help and guidance of teachers. Smaller classrooms may also prove more helpful and less disorienting than large lecture style courses offered in many of the top universities. As well, many students now attend a junior college because it is more economically sound to do so, especially if one is as yet unsure about one’s major. The junior college offers an opportunity to explore different majors before making a sound commitment to a single subject.
No matter where you live, the cost of education can be daunting. I live in California, and there are many good junior colleges in California to choose from where you can receive a good education at a reasonable price.
If you do your homework, there are many universities that have partnership programs with local junior or community colleges, and this is another great way to get your college education. By going this route, you no for certain that your credits will transfer with no problem.
When I attended college, I received an associates degree from a local junior college. Then I transferred to a state university to complete my bachelors degree. There are many junior colleges across the country and most of them also have athletic programs for those who are interested.
I played on our junior college volleyball team for the two years I was in school there. Because junior colleges are smaller than universities, the opportunity to be able to play is greater because there are not as many people trying out for the team.
I have many good memories from my time spent at the unior college, and had no trouble with my degree transferring.