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Types of U.S. higher education

1. STATE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY

A state school is supported and run by a state or local government. Each of the 50 U.S. states operates at least one state university and possibly several state colleges. Many of these public universities schools have the name of the state, or the actual word “State” in their names: for example, Washington State University and the University of Michigan.

2. PRIVATE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY

These schools are privately run as opposed to being run by a branch of the government. Tuition will usually be higher than state schools. Often, private U.S. universities and colleges are smaller in size than state schools.

Religiously affiliated universities and colleges are private schools. Nearly all these schools welcome students of all religions and beliefs. Yet, there are a percentage of schools that prefer to admit students who hold similar religious beliefs as those in which the school was founded.

3. COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Community colleges are two-year colleges that award an associate’s degrees (transferable), as well as certifications. There are many types of associate degrees, but the most important distinguishing factor is whether or not the degree is transferable. Usually, there will be two primary degree tracks: one for academic transfer and the other prepares students to enter the workforce straightaway. University transfer degrees are generally associate of arts or associate of science. Not likely to be transferrable are the associate of applied science degrees and certificates of completion.

Community college graduates most commonly transfer to four-year colleges or universities to complete their degree. Because they can transfer the credits they earned while attending community college, they can complete their bachelor’s degree program in two or more additional years. Many also offer ESL or intensive English language programs, which will prepare students for university-level courses.

If you do not plan to earn a higher degree than the associate’s, you should find out if an associate’s degree will qualify you for a job in your home country.

4. INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

An institute of technology is a school that provides at least four years of study in science and technology. Some have graduate programs, while others offer short-term courses.