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US Community Colleges

#1 Pathways to an American degree

If you are reading this post, chances are you are that you are looking for pathways to a degree in the U.S. There are four main options assuming if you have the SPM, IGCSE or an equivalent qualification:

  • Direct to a 4-year university in U.S.- Many U.S. universities will accept international students who have completed grade 11 high school qualification. These are good rank universities but not likely the ones ranked at the top. If you are ambitious and are aiming for a top-ranked university or the ivy leagues, you might want to consider one of the other options below. 

  • A Level / International Baccalaureate - Students who wish have a shot at top universities in the U.S. can take the A level or IB qualification. Some American universities offer credit exemption to students who have completed A level or IB with strong grades, effectively enabling students the opportunity to complete their bachelor's degree in under 4 years. 

  • American Degree Transfer programme - this is a 2+2 programme where students spend their first two years completing U.S. college credits at one of the private colleges in Malaysia. They then transfer to selected universities in the states. Depending on their choice of university and major, students may or may not be able to transfer their credits in full to universities in the U.S. 

  • Community colleges in the U.S. - This a a great option for students who wish to complete 4 years of their bachelor's degree in the U.S. at a reasonable cost. With the community college pathway, students have the opportunity to graduate at some of the best universities such as UCLA, University of Washington, University of Michigan, New York University as well as ivy leagues such as Columbia University, Cornell University and Brown University. 



#2 What is A Community College?

Community colleges are 2-year public colleges in the U.S. that allows students to compete the first 2 years of their bachelor's degree at a considerably lower cost compared to most 4-year universities. Students can earn an Associate's Degree​ at a community college in 1.5 to 2 years. They then have the option to transfer to universities across the U.S. to complete year 3 and 4 to obtain a bachelor's degree. ​This is commonly known as the University Transfer Programme

#3 Why Community Colleges?

(a) Flexible Entry Requirements

  • International students are eligible to enter U.S. community colleges once they have completed SPM, IGCSE or equivalent. A levels, foundation or other pre-university qualifications are not usually required. 

  • The minimum age to be accepted to most community college is 16.

  • SAT or ACT is normally not needed as part of community college admission.

  • Most community colleges require proof of English proficiency such as IELTS, TOEFL or Duolingo. 


(b) Easy Transfer to Top U.S. Universities

Community college students often get easier entry to some top universities in the U.S. Many U.S. universities have Transfer Admission Guarantee agreements (TAG) with community colleges that allow community college students to be automatically admitted into the university once they meet the transfer requirements, such as completing pre-requisite coursework and attaining a satisfactory grade point average. Many universities also offer preferential entry to community college students from the same state. 

Students will also find it much easier to transfer their credits to U.S. universities from community colleges compared to other programmes such as the American Degree Transfer Programme or diplomas from Malaysia. 

(c) Affordable Tuition

The average tuition at a good community college in the U.S. is around USD9,000 to 11,000 per annum. Tuition fees are usually due when students arrive in the U.S. and register for classes. Tuition are due after the start of each semester, making it very easy for parents to plan their finances. In addition to tuition, parents need to budget a little extra for insurance and books.  

Small class size
Transfer to top univrsities in USA

Small Class Size
20 - 25 students

Transfer to universities across the U.S.

Multiple intakes


Flexible entry   
- SAT, ACT not required

Save up to 80% of tuition fees in year 1 and 2 

Exempt from IELTS or TOEFL

Exempt from IELTS or TOEFL
*condiitions apply


Scholarships available


International student community 

Internship and work opportunities

Internship and post-study work opportunities

#4 What Will You Study at Community Colleges?

(a) University Transfer Degree

The 2+2 University Transfer Degree is highly sought after by internationals students as a pathway to top American universities. It is a good stepping stone for international students to transition into the U.S. education system while taking advantage of the full American cultural experience.

Students begin by taking general education classes such as English, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Humanities. This is the case whether students are attending a community college or a 4-year university. However, students benefit from lower tuition rates taking general education classes at a community college. In addition to general education classes, students also take prerequisite classes related to their major as well as some electives classes.

Popular transfer majors:

  • Business

  • Engineering

  • Computer Science

  • Mathematics

  • Economics & Finance

  • Natural Sciences

  • Social Sciences

  • Health Sciences

  • Psychology

  • Communication

  • Art & Design

  • Music

  • Performing Arts

(b) Career-focused Associate Degrees or Certificates

Community colleges also offer career-focused degrees to prepare graduates for employment. These degrees typically take up to 2 years to complete and are recognised for entry level positions in the employment market. Students may be interested in:

  • Business Management

  • Cybersecurity

  • Computer Game Development

  • Computer Network Operations

  • Computer Programming

  • Graphic Design

  • Culinary Arts

  • Dental Hygiene

  • Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

  • Early Childhood Education

  • Criminal Justice

  • Music Technology and Sound Engineering

  • Physical Therapist Assistant

  • Nursing

  • Health Information Management

  • Energy Management

  • Aviation Maintenance Technician

  • Automotive Technology

  • Construction Technology

  • Drafting

  • Flight Technology

  • Manufacturing Technology

(c) American High School Diploma

Students who did not complete a high school qualification but choose to begin their studies at a community college in the state of Washington can earn the American high school diploma while completing the first 2 years of their bachelor's degree in the U.S. 

#5 What are the Top Community Colleges

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