Which Associates Degree?

I’m planning on getting a business degree. I’m going to community college for a couple of years before a university, though. The university that I want to go to recommends an Associates of Arts or an Associates of Science for transfers. Which should I get for Business Administration?

P.S. I looked into it already, and different websites said that they are both great for business, which itself can be a humanity. It just confused me more. Please help!


You need more guidance from the university that you want to transfer to, not just “AA or AS are both fine.” You need a very specific plan mapped out. Ideally, you would like to go to a community college that already has a pipeline for transfer from community college to the college’s Bus Admin program, preferably to your state’s flaghip U, if possible, and at least to one of your state’s colleges.

Search the websites for the colleges that you’d like to transfer to, and see if they already have a transfer template. Ideally, you would want to have taken all your general education classes, and all the required pre-business classes, so that you would be accepted as a junior. Make an appointment with the advising department at the college that you would like to transfer to, and ask them if there is already a template for any community college near you, for transfer to the business school. Then touch base with them every semester, to make sure that nothing has changed in the interim, and that you are on track for a seamless transition.

Otherwise, you risk having done two years for an associate’s degree, but only getting a year’s credit, if even that much, when you transfer. It’s not about AA vs AS. It’s about choosing a community college that has a seamless, full credit transition to the local college or state U that gives you the full two years of credit for all your gen eds and the business prerequisites, like first year accounting, business math, economics, etc.

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Your Community College should have transfer counselors and this would be exactly the type of question they can help answer. Schedule some time to speak with them.

I recently helped my son do this exact same scenario - AS in business with transfer to the flagship state U’s Bus Admin program. I can tell you that the community college’s counseling was absolutely worthless for this. They didn’t offer any useful information; in fact, a lot of what he was told was incorrect, and if we’d followed their instructions, he would have likely had to do three years at the 4 yr college. The important thing was what the target 4 yr college would accept, not what the community college offered or recommended. And be forewarned that colleges change what they will accept, which is why you need to check in with them every semester, to make sure that you’re still on track to transfer with two years’ credit, and the ability to get the BA/BS in Business Admin in two years at the college.

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In my state, there are 'guaranteed transfers" that will transfer over from any organization to another (whether it be from a community college or not). Also, my college choices have guaranteed admission if I transfer from a community college with an AA or AS. I’ll make sure to check in with college reps and my high school counselor every semester (I have already started doing this).

But I have to choose my community college classes soon, and I need to start picking classes based on my degree. Which (Associates of Arts or Associates of Science) will be best? BTW, I am currently a junior, but for my senior year I will be taking mostly college classes to help earn my degree quicker and at less cost.

Most students would need to take, over 2 semesters or 3 quarters

  • precalculus and/or calculus
  • statistics
  • English composition (or Freshman English 1&2)
  • microeconomics, macroeconomics
  • a social science or history
  • a science for non science majors
  • intro to management

If you tell us which university you hope to transfer to, it’d help us help you.

I want to transfer to Colorado State University.
I have already taken microeconomics, next year I will be taking English composition 1 and 2, pre-calculus (so that after graduation I can take Calculus) and probably AP Statistics.

Thanks for all your help.

I would start here first. My suggestion would be to spend time reading through the website and figuring out what options they offer.

Do you know which CC you will be going to?

Here’s a link to the degree requirements for Colorado State University

Look at the school of business’ requirements here:


Yes, looks like your state has a gen ed passport type of thing, called the Guaranteed Transfer Pathways. CSU has the All University Core Curriculum. You need to complete the Guaranteed Transfer Pathways classes at the community college. You also need to do equivalents that will fulfill the lower division business core. Here is a description of the All U Core at CSU: All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) < Colorado State University You will have to do something like this at the community college, that will transfer to CSU and fulfill all their requirements. Make sure that all the gen eds you take at the community college are Guaranteed Transfer Pathways classes. As if turned out, the community college that my son attended required two fewer classes for the gen ed curriculum than did the flagship state U, but they gave him credit when he transferred with his AS to the U, since the fact that he had completed the gen eds at the community college, while getting an AS degree, fulfilled the gen eds at the state U.

Can you tell us which community college you will be doing your first two years at? Often there are charts where the 4 yr college will say which courses at which local community colleges will fulfill the lower division business core classes.

But since we now know that at Colorado State U, you will be getting a BS in Business Administration, if for some reason they are saying that you must choose whether you’re going for an AA or an AS, the answer might be an AS. But the real issue is whether you get that Guaranteed Transfer Pathways done, to fulfill the All U core curriculum that transfer to CSU, and all the lower division business core classes, and the ones that CSU wants. That’s why I say you must communicate with the business school at CSU for advice. For example, the community college that my son attended offered some five different accounting classes - two low level, two medium level, and a one semester 200 level class. ONLY the one semester 200 level class fulfilled the U’s requirement. If he hadn’t known, he probably would have taken the wrong one.

This is why I say that it’s extremely important to communicate with CSU business school now about the lower div business core, and with the CSU office of admissions about the gen ed guaranteed transfer classes. You cannot depend upon your high school counselor, or the community college counselor to get it right. Odds are, they won’t. Your goal is getting to CSU as a junior, so you need to hear from CSU what they will accept. And it is crucial to keep checking in with them before each semester, in case anything changes.

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Ok, that helps.
First semester
Freshman English
Historical Studies
BUSINESS 100 (intro course)

Second semester
Calculus for management sciences
Physical sciences

CSU has a list of courses they want to see, then you can enter them into your CC’s online transfer tool and see what the equivalent is.

Cool. Thanks for the list.

Okay. I’ll schedule a meeting with a university counselor to get my classes in order. I’ll take all of your advice. I thought I mentioned this but I guess not, but for my high school senior year, I’ll be doing concurrent enrollment. It’ll be enough credits (along with my previous AP classes) to complete the freshman first semester list that @MYOS1634 gave me.

If you need a list of the AP classes that I have taken previously and will take next year, let me know.

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