Choose Your Community College and Win
Millions of students fresh out of high school are attending community colleges, two-year post-secondary institutions that are found across the United States. Sometimes known as technical colleges or junior colleges, community colleges can provide a good and affordable education for students.
Community college enrollment is at record levels as students use these schools as a destination, a bridge to transfer or both.
1. Learn about community colleges in your area. Depending on where you live, your community college may serve one or more counties directly with in-state students also permitted to attend. Many colleges accept students from across the country and around the world; tuition is typically cheapest for resident attendees. Find out which schools are in your area.
2. Speak with current students, graduates and transfer students. Chances are you know someone that is or has attended the community college that interests you. Currents students and recent graduates can give you the best insight on the classes, the college environment and the instructors. If you meet a student that transferred out, find out the reason why and gain this person’s feedback.
3. Consider the cost. Most community colleges provide a low-cost education. Still, when you add up a full class load, lab fees, textbook charges and related expenses, your costs may come in higher than anticipated. Research the college’s website for financial aid information. Many community college students qualify for a federal Pell grant; you may too once you fill out a FAFSA.
4. Take the campus tour. Just like four-year colleges, community colleges desire to acquaint students with the school. Find out when the next informational session and campus tour will be held. Plan to attend the event that you are able to take in. Find out what facilities are present, the clubs available and the athletic programs offered. You may be surprised to discover that many two-year colleges offer a comprehensive student experience.
5. Discover the schedules available. Community colleges seek to be all things to all students or something very close to that. Many schools are pioneers in reaching out to adult or returning students, making evening and weekend classes available. Online classes are sometimes offered too. Find the schedule that suits you best.
6. Learn about courses and your transfer options. In the second point we brushed over transfer students. If you have your eyes on completing your bachelor work, then you want to follow a clear path trodden by many students before you. Learn what courses are available, the certificates and degrees offered, and the articulation agreements in place. An articulation agreement makes it possible for you transfer to a four-year college with ease.
Don’t rush into making an educational decision without having all the facts before you. Understand the reasons for attending college and what steps you need to achieve your educational goals. A community college is sometimes a destination unto itself or it can be used as a critical steppingstone to further your post-secondary education, so choose one carefully and enjoy your education.