Getting Started

This section provides an in depth look at choosing the right community college. We’ll cover the reasons why community college is a good choice and the best steps to take when making your decision. Find tips and resources to aid in your search for the perfect school.
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Community college has become a viable option for many who want to expand their educational experience, but don’t feel that a four-year university is the right fit for them. As President Obama continues to make community college a focus of his presidency, most potential students are giving these two-year schools a second look as well. There is a wealth of community colleges available today, and the broad spectrum of schools can make it difficult to know which institution will meet the specific needs of a student best. If you are about to embark on a journey into the world of higher education, we have the information you need to ensure you select the best school for you.

Reasons to Choose Community College
 
For those who are still in the process of choosing between a community college and four-year university, it is important to weigh the advantages of a community college before making your selection. Some of the reasons to opt for a community college include:
 
Cost
 
The average cost of tuition at a community college is significantly less than that at a four-year institution, even with recent tuition rate increases at many two-year schools across the country. Students who want a four-year degree can choose to begin their adventure into higher education at a community or junior college, where they can earn credits for a lot less money. If all the credits transfer to a four-year school after the first two years, students enjoy the same bachelor degree as . . . read more

Today's students enjoy more programs and degree opportunities at community colleges than ever before! However, with so many choices, finding the right community college can be overwhelming.  While there are many factors to consider in choosing a community college, there are four specific checklist steps you can take to choose the perfect community college for your future.

Step 1: Consider Your Professional Pathway
 
Before you enroll in community college, it is important to understand what your long-term professional goals are. Do you want to be a nurse? Would you like to be a scientist or engineer? Does being a wine taster fit your professional fancy? Based upon your projected professional goals, create a list of community colleges that offer reputable programs and degrees in your field. This will help you narrow down your choices based upon campuses that will propel into professional success.
 
In addition, keep in mind that even university-bound students can benefit from attending community college first. Instead of being an ?undeclared? major at a four-year university, explore your options at community college first. University courses often cost twice as much (or more) than the average community college classes. Students who are eager to explore different subjects can save thousands of dollars by enrolling at a nearby community college before wasting tuition costs at a university.
 
Step 2: Investigate the Industry
 
Once you have made a decision about your professional goals, experts strongly recommend meeting with an employer in your field of interest. For . . . read more

While each high school year has unique and specific goals, seniors can begin to prepare for their step in higher education as they make plans to attend community college.

Developing a Plan for Enrollment
 
As a senior, you will make many important decisions regarding the next phase of your life. Choosing a community college means finding a campus that is in line with your goals, both academically and professionally. 
 
Since community colleges can provide students with different areas of academic focus, students can begin their investigation of specific schools by requesting catalogues from each community college. Catalogues and websites will provide information about programs, course schedules, and graduation plans. After reviewing information, a senior can also make an appointment with a college counselor. A counselor can discuss with a student plans for career, job interests, and professional guidance. After narrowing down career options, a counselor and senior can discuss whether or not a particular college is the right fit for specific areas of study.   
 
Financial Planning - Anticipating the Costs
 
As the costs of college can often be expensive, high school seniors and parents can make the appropriate plans by reviewing financial aid and loan options
 
Remember, community college is indeed much more affordable than traditional four-year institutions.   However, planning ahead will help the senior determine whether or not to attend community college full-time, or to also work in a part-time or full-time position. 
 
Preparing for Placement Tests
 
Indeed, community college admissions do not require a senior to take any of the national standardized tests, such as the SAT . . . read more

Many things factor in one’s selection process when choosing a community college. After briefly introducing you to these factors, we will discuss each factor in detail in turn. Here are some of the selection criteria that students consider when investigating community colleges:
  • Why are you going to school?
  • If you plan to continue with a four year degree, what type of articulation agreements does the community college have with four year colleges?
  • What type of coursework do you need?
  • Is cost an issue?
  • Do you want or need a virtual campus?
  • Do you have a four year college in mind?
  • Location, Location, Location!
  • On Campus Activities
  • Student Support
Let’s look at each of these factors in detail now that we have introduced them to you.
 
Most people attending a four year college go with the sole target of getting a four year bachelor’s degree to help prepare them for their professional career. But with community colleges, students attend for different purposes.Many students attend to get a two-year degree. There are, however, other end goals for students including:transferring to a four year college, getting a high school diploma, remedial education including “English as a Second language, personal growth, professional certification, or workplace required continuing education.” While nationwide statistics were not available, numbers are available by looking at records that BellevueCommunity College in Bellevue, Washington, collected from 2002 to 2004 on the purposes that their students reported for their enrollment intent. The following statistics is from their Fall 2004 student population (the statistics do not total 100% probably due to rounding . . . read more
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Choosing a School

GETTING STARTED