Difference Between Community College and University

Community College vs University

Once you have passed your High School and got the diploma, it becomes necessary to look for a college or a University to pursue higher education. All of us are aware of the value of college education and how it can help in specializing and furthering our careers. However, it is also known to us how expensive college education has become. Unless a student has got a scholarship to take admission in a college or a university, it is a difficult endeavor financially for most of them. There is an option in community colleges for such students to go for higher education. However, deciding between a community college and a university is tough for most students as they are not aware of the differences between these two centers of higher education. This article attempts to make clear these differences to enable students to choose between these two alternatives.

Community College

The lack of universities at all places and the expenses involved in pursuing higher education led to the establishment of centers of higher education called community colleges during the 20th century. These were smaller centers of education that were established to bring education nearer to adults and students and provided the opportunity to pursue higher education that was adapted to suit the needs of the students. The reason these institutions were called community colleges was because they were meant to cater to the needs of the students in the local community rather than attracting students from far flung places. There are many courses offered in these community colleges that lead to certificates, diplomas and even associate’s degrees. There is even the facility of transferring the credits earned at a community college to adjust at a college or a university, when a student seeks to get a degree from a college or a university.

Students join community colleges for many reasons, the foremost being the inexpensive nature of the community colleges. Studying and obtaining a certificate from a community college is much cheaper than pursuing a degree level course at a college or a university. These colleges are also popular among adults who for some reason could not attend a regular college and are now doing jobs making it difficult for them to attend regular college.

One of the biggest advantages of community colleges is that they are located close by, therefore, not requiring a student to leave his job or residence to pursue higher education. Another advantage lies in the opportunity to study courses that are not available in universities and become ready to start on a job after the completion of course such as nursing, technician, etc.


The word university comes from a Latin word that literally translates into a community of teachers and scholars. Today university stands for a centre of higher studies that is also a place for research. Universities allow people to get bachelors and even masters level degrees in their chosen fields of studies. Students can also pursue courses at doctorate level to earn the title of doctors in their chosen subject such as law, medicine, science, arts, or engineering. There are even medical universities where students earn medical degrees at bachelor’s level, as well as doctoral level. Universities are a breeding ground for all kinds of researches in different subjects. University courses are popular among students as they have a wide acceptance in the industry and make students eligible for jobs after completion of courses in these centers of higher education.

What is the difference between Community College and University?

• Community colleges are higher education centers that fill in the blank for students who for some reason cannot go to universities for higher education.

• Adults who have not completed their higher studies can pursue courses in community colleges while continuing with their jobs.

• Community colleges provide certificates, diplomas, and associate level degrees whereas universalities provide 4 and 5 year degree courses that have higher value and acceptance in the industry.

• Community colleges are in close proximity and are not residential in nature.

• Universities are in big cities and require students to live on the campus.

• One can get bachelors, masters, and doctoral level degrees in universities and also do research.

• Community colleges are flexible and allow one to pursue specialized education adapted to suit their needs.

• Community colleges prove cheaper than universities.

• Those looking to start with a job soon after completing their course can join community college instead of a university.