Junior Colleges: These are generally two-year colleges that are private institutions. Some junior colleges are residential and are attended by students who come from other parts of the country.
Some programs at two-year colleges lead to an A.S. or A.A. degree in an academic discipline. These academic programs are often comparable to the first two years of a general academic program offered by a four-year college or university. In many cases, students who earn two-year degrees may enter four-year schools and receive credit toward a B.A. or B.S. degree.
Many junior and community colleges offer technical and occupational training, as well as academic courses. For example, many cardiovascular technicians, medical laboratory technicians, and computer technicians received their education and training at junior colleges, community colleges, or technical colleges.
Many junior, community, and technical colleges offer technical programs in cooperation with local businesses, industry, public service agencies, or other organizations. Some of these programs are formally connected to education programs that students start in high school; they are often referred to as "tech-prep" or "school-to-career" programs. [Footnote: These "school-to-career" or "tech-prep" programs often provide students with an opportunity to learn new skills by working for a local employer and by taking high school courses that link with courses offered at local colleges.]
Two-year colleges such as community colleges often operate under an "open admissions" policy that can vary from school to school. At some institutions, "open admissions" means that anyone who has a high school diploma or GED certificate can enroll. At other schools, anyone over 18 years of age can enroll or, in some cases, anyone deemed able to benefit from the programs at the schools can enroll.
Application requirements at colleges with two-year programs and shorter programs may include a high school transcript -- a list of all the courses your child took and grades earned in four years of high school -- and college entrance examination scores as well. Some schools have programs that allow open admissions, while other programs in the same school -- particularly in scientific or technical subjects -- may have further admission requirements. Because requirements vary widely, it is important to check into schools and programs individually.