High school seniors, have you made the decision to attend the local community college in the fall in lieu of the four-year university originally planned? It is in your best interest to start the application/enrollment process now (if you haven’t already done so). There is so much to do and few people holding your hand along the way…
1) Applying for the college is the first step, a student cannot register for classes without enrolling in the college. I know it sounds silly, but it can be a silly error and naive unknown.
2) Once you have applied to the college, sign up for assessments in English and Math. Don’t forget to study for the assessments! These are super important for your post-secondary future and if students fail to take these exams seriously, it could lead to several additional classes (and additional semesters needed before transferring).
3) Check to see what programs are available to students for accelerated transfer to particular universities. Honors programs, Accelerated Transfer Programs or any kind of program that offers additional advising for students are available to students on most (if not) community college campuses. Most selective majors on selective campuses offer transfer guarantee programs primarily because the receiving university wants well prepared students that have already taken the lower division courses in the major before transferring.
4) Make an appointment with a general counseling advisor. Review the necessary courses that will satisfy the general education requirements but also review the requirements for the intended major.
5) See what scholarships are available specifically for the community college students. All campuses have a financial aid/scholarship office open to students. Take advantage, even if you don’t qualify for need based federal or state financial aid.
6) Find an on-campus job. They are much more convenient for a student and they can be much more flexible than an off-campus job. Most students may need a past time job to help pay fees or books.
7) Check to see what certification or vocational programs are available at the community college and are of interest to you. Becoming certificated in a trade can come in handy if you decide to work while completing a degree after the community college. Knowing a trade is also a good skill to have.
8) Keep reminding yourself that “just community college” is a post-secondary institution. An institution of higher education gives individuals (regardless of social or economic standing) a chance to improve ones intellect but also give a chance to improve the social mobility. There are people of all ages, abilities and educational levels that enroll in community college classes. Be prepared to be challenged, to be intimidated, and to find a new love of learning in an institution of higher learning.