Two Year and Community Colleges

Post-Secondary Planning

Two year colleges are private institutions that provide a variety of opportunities for students who want additional education beyond high school. Community colleges are public two-year institutions that also provide a variety of opportunities for students who want additional education beyond high school Students may elect certificate programs which offer specialized training and instruction, Associate degree programs which can lead to a terminal two year degree, or a transfer option to a four year institution. Students with a certificate will be eligible for specific jobs. Those who have earned Associate's Degrees will be eligible for immediate employment or the opportunity to transfer to a four year college.

Both community colleges such as NOVA and private two-year colleges are similar to four-year colleges with respect to admissions policies, residence facilities, and on-campus activities. The successful completion of a two-year program results in an Associate degree.

Northern Virginia Community College

Community Colleges

Their objective is to offer programs that are financially and geographically accessible to the local community.


  • open admissions policy—high school diploma or equivalent is accepted
  • no minimum grade point average
  • SATs and ACTs are not required
  • placement tests are given at the time of enrollment (The results of the tests determine the appropriate level of courses a student should take.)
  • register early for classes after talking with an advisor

Terminal Programs

  • designed to meet the increasing need for workers in occupational and technical fields
  • prepare students for immediate employment
  • result in either a certificate of completion or an Associate degree

Transfer Programs

  • include freshman and sophomore courses in arts and sciences and pre-professional programs
  • meet standards acceptable for transfer to four-year colleges (However, the student is responsible for determining which credits will transfer to the receiving institution.)
  • program completion results in an Associate degree

Advantages of attending community colleges

  • lower tuition fees
  • no expense for room and board
  • flexibility to pursue education while employed
  • opportunity to use the two years at community college to improve chances of getting into a more selective four-year college