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.
Take the five steps to selecting a community college that will best suit your academic, professional, and personal goals.
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 on 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 on campuses that will propel you to 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.
This video offers some tips on planning your career.
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 example, if you want to become a teacher who is certified to assist children with autism, then meet with a school or autism support program to determine if they like to recruit from your list of community colleges.
If a potential employer recommends a particular community college, you can make a better-informed decision. After all, you want to graduate from an institution that is respected amongst employers in the industry, as this increases your job offers!
Step 3: Audit Several Classes
Take an opportunity to visit each community college campus and attend a few classes that are in your program of interest. You may need to obtain permission from the instructor or department adviser, but generally, you can simply sit in a lecture and observe the class. Look up course schedules and choose one or two classes that are particularly interesting to you. This first-hand experience will expose you to the department's instructors, their teaching style and pace, as well as your fellow students.
If you are currently in high school, consider taking a summer or evening course at a community college of interest. This can not only prepare you for the rigors of college and earn you course credit but also further fine-tune your decision upon graduation.
Step 4: Meet with an Academic Adviser
Take advantage of the admissions office on community college campuses and make appointments to meet with their academic advisers. You will undoubtedly have questions, and these advisers are excellent resources. You can discuss your academic and professional goals, as well as any concerns you have, with the adviser. Not only will this appointment give you insight into the coursework, but also the academic support you can expect to receive if you enroll with the community college.
Step 5: Master the Tricks of Transferring
Community college is a platform for both your professional and academic career. When choosing the right community college, you want to find an institution that will give you the option to transfer credits to a four-year university. Even if you currently do not plan to transfer, it is always better to have the option in case you change your mind in the future. Many community colleges have transfer articulation agreements with regional four-year universities. For example, if you attend Pasadena Community College in California, then you enjoy the ability to transfer your credits to the University of California campuses.
This video offers some advice on how to transfer from community college to a four-year college.
Today's community colleges offer more academic and professional opportunities than ever before. Take advantage of the excellent education, as well as the affordable tuition, and you will find yourself quickly on your way to your professional goals.
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