Deciding to study in another country is a big decision. Choosing the right academic institution can make a big difference in your future.
If you are considering studying in the USA, you may at first be confused about the educational system. You’ve heard a lot about Ivy League universities in the U.S. like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, or top-ranking ones like Stanford, UCLA, or UC Berkeley. Your first instinct may be to look into those schools for your education abroad. Then you might realize that you don’t meet the requirements or can’t come up with the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to attend a university for four years.
Don’t be discouraged! The American community college system could be the answer to all those hurdles.
Starting at a community college like Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) can be one of the best choices you'll ever make.
If you are planning on getting a bachelor's degree, starting at a community college is not only a smart choice but also a less expensive one.
You can complete the first two years at a community college while also fulfilling the general education requirements of a four-year institution at the same time. So, instead of paying an annual tuition of about $55,000 at a four-year university such as the University of California, you pay approximately $9,000 at SBCC!
There are many more advantages of starting at a community college and then transferring for a bachelor's degree:
SBCC is an all-access college
“All-access” means that there are just a few requirements you need to fulfill to be accepted at SBCC — in addition to successfully completing the application process. It is much easier to meet the requirements for SBCC and also receive a high-quality education. In addition, because community colleges are not as well-known abroad, the competition is not as high. Most Ivy League universities have an acceptance rate of 9–14%, but your chances to get into a community college are exponentially higher.
Class sizes are much smaller than at a university
Smaller class sizes allow you to get to know your professors and for your professors to support you if you need help. At universities, you will be sitting in large lecture halls among hundreds of students, and the chances of your professors getting to know you among your many peers are small.
Improve your English language skills
You can also improve your reading, writing, and understanding of English in a smaller, more supportive environment. Support from professors and free tutors at SBCC can help you get better grades, setting you up for success once you transfer to university classes.
Try out classes before you get set on a major
Tuition at a community college is much cheaper, allowing you to experiment with different types of classes. If you haven’t settled on a major yet, you can try out different courses to determine which major you choose for your degree. With more than 100 programs, SBCC makes it easy for you to pick the best field of study for a future degree. If you have already chosen a field of study, courses at the community college can also help strengthen your decision.
SBCC has Transfer Guarantees
As an international student at SBCC, you have the choice to enroll in TAG — the Transfer Agreement Guarantee. With TAG, you have guaranteed admission to top public and private universities and colleges in California and the U.S. Our award-winning Transfer Academy has advisors who will work with you to transfer to your college of choice.
SBCC offers free trips to visit top universities
As part of the transfer program, you can sign up to visit top universities for free, explore the campuses, and meet with advisors. At SBCC's Transfer Fair, you can meet many university and college representatives and start planning your next steps.
A gap year at SBCC combines academics and fun
If a bachelor’s degree is not your goal, spending a gap year at a community college offers you the college experience with both academically challenging courses and fun classes. Take up surfing, yoga, or hiking, learn about baking, nutrition, and the environment, or take a class about dinosaurs!
Due to SBCC’s unique location, you can head to the beach between classes, go hiking in the afternoon, head downtown in the evening, and drive to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Las Vegas for the weekend. Depending on the time of year, you can be at the beach in the morning and in the snowy mountains in the afternoon. You can be close to the major cities but away from the dense population.
Lastly, you can also earn your associate degree — or a certificate or diploma — as an international student at SBCC.
Learn more about becoming a student at SBCC.
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