Basic Difference: 2 and 4-years Education

Last updated on November 27, 2017

When the end of high school draws near, it’s time to start thinking about your future. What will you do for a living? What skills will make you attractive to companies? For many people, attending college is the best decision for long-term stability.

Choosing between two-year and four-year programs can be hard, though. You might not be comfortable taking on debt. Perhaps you don’t know which major you would choose. Maybe you’re nervous about living far from home. Need some advice? We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain the reasons why you might want to choose one type of school over another.


The cost to attend a public university is about double that of a community college. Private universities can cost even more. Add the price of room and board, and four years at a university can cost more than $100,000. Paying back a loan of that size could take years.

On the other hand, a degree from a community school can cost as little as $7,000. Many people begin their higher education at two-year programs to save money. Often, you can transfer your credits to a university later.

Fields of Study

Two-year colleges often have small budgets and don’t receive research grants. As a result, they focus on teaching job skills. In other words, your local small school probably doesn’t have a football team. It also probably won’t develop the next breakthrough in medicine. However, college professors spend their time teaching. At a university, graduate students will teach many of your classes for the first two years.

If you’re looking for a degree that leads directly to a good job in your city, a college may be the best choice. Community school forges relationships with local businesses. So, attending a local school will give you the skills that nearby companies want their employees to have.

Campus Life

Colleges tend to offer flexible schedules because most students drive to class. They may be older adults who go to class after work. Others are younger and still live with their parents. If you can’t get to every class, it may not matter as long as you can still pass the tests.

The drawback of a small school is that it doesn’t provide much of a social experience. With a two-year degree, you probably won’t live in a dorm. You probably won’t rush a fraternity or haunt the local bars on weekends.

Personal Attention

A university often has very large class sizes. In addition, many university professors spend much of their time researching or writing books instead of teaching.

During your first two years at a university, many of your teachers will be students themselves. When they aren’t teaching, they’ll be busy finishing their own degrees. As a result, you may find it hard to get the attention you need if you fall behind.

At college, the average class size is much smaller. Dedicated students who try hard are more likely to be noticed by their professors.


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