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.
View the most popular articles in Getting Started:
Published July 19, 2017 |
Simple Tips for Bulking Up Your Community College Application
Though many people assume community college is easier than "real" college, you still need to have a strong application if you want to get in. Keep reading to learn more.

Though many people assume that community college is somehow less of a “real” school than traditional colleges and universities, students at community college must go through the same admissions process. Community colleges each have their own set of requirements for potential students which vary depending on a number of factors. The size of the school, its location, and the programs offered will all affect the admissions process.

Though each school is unique in terms of its requirements, the same basic rules apply for all college applicants. You’ll need to have some kind of standardized test score (either SAT or ACT) and a high school transcript. You may be required to submit letters of recommendation and some kind of personal essay. The admissions team will also want to know about any extra-curricular activities you’ve been involved in because they are looking to create a diverse, well-rounded student body. Keep reading to learn some simple tips for bulking up your community college application.


What Do Admissions Officers Look For?

When a college admissions officer looks over your application, there are several things they’re going to look for. First of all, they’re going to look at your high school transcript but, despite what you might have been told, your grades aren’t the only thing they consider. More important than the grades you get in your classes are the classes themselves as well as the difficulty of the high school curriculum as a whole. Admissions officers look to make sure that students take at least

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Published June 08, 2017 |
What to Consider When Choosing a Community College
There are thousands of different schools out there, so how do you make your choice? Consider these three categories to narrow your search and find the perfect school.

For many high school students, attending college is the next logical step after graduation. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are more than 2,300 institutions that grant 4-year degrees and around 1,500 community colleges. With so many options out there, making a decision can be quite difficult. If you want to make sure that you end up going to the right school, take the time to think about your future before you start shopping for schools then consider each option in depth, focusing on three categories in particular – academics, student life, and finances.

Before You Start Looking

Though many students look at it this way, college is not just something you do after high school – it is a wonderful opportunity to shape your future and it is an important choice that will affect the rest of your life. This being the case, you need to do some thinking and planning before you actually start shopping for schools so you have some idea what you are looking for. First, think about your professional goals for the future – what kind of job do you see yourself having ten years down the line? Next, take that idea and delve a little deeper into the industry – are there any requirements or certifications you will need and how stable is a job in that industry? Finally, think about where you want to go to school – do you want to stay close to home or take the chance to experience

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Published May 08, 2017 |
The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Community College
Going to college is a big deal and so is choosing the right one. Keep reading to learn the top 10 questions to ask yourself before attending college and the best questions to help you make the right choice.

Choosing a college is a major decision that will affect at least the next two to four years of your life, depending which school and which program you choose. Many students attend college right out of high school simply because it seems like the logical next step. With college tuition rising each year and millions of college graduates still struggling to start a career, however, it is important to think through this decision completely before you make your choice.

Keep reading to learn about the top ten questions to ask yourself before going to college as well as some important questions to ask when it comes to making your decision.

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going to College

Before you even decide to attend college, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself. Your answers to these questions will help you to determining if the timing is right for you to attend college or if you might be better off waiting a few years. These questions will also help you to narrow down your choice for a major so you can choose the best college to fit your interests. Here are the top ten questions to ask yourself as you think about attending college:

  1. Do you know what you want to study? If you don’t already have some idea what you want to study in college, it might not be the right time to go. College is expensive and the last thing you want to do is waste your
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Updated September 06, 2017 |
Spotlight: Rio Salado College Innovation Shines on Student Success
In Arizona, the Rio Salado College bucks the national trend, boosting graduation rates and student success stories through innovative assistance for its community college students.
In the face of many difficulties, which include massive budget cuts, low graduation rates, and students that need an abundance of guidance and support to stay on track, community colleges throughout the nation are finding ways to keep their doors open and graduate students on time. No school has been more successful in making the most out of a less-than-ideal situation than Rio Salado College.
 
Rio Salado is part of the Maricopa Community College District, a ten-campus system in Phoenix that offers over 10,000 courses for it’s 250,000 students on campus and online. It is one of the largest higher education institutions in the United States. Rio Salado accounts for roughly 60,000 of the system’s students, many of which attend part-time in order to accommodate work schedules and family needs due to economic disadvantages.
Students who come from poverty have the odds stacked against them with regard to graduation. The graduation rate for community college students in the United States is at most 40 percent, but that number falls drastically for poor and working-class students. According to the New York Times, only about one-quarter of college freshmen born into families in the bottom half of the income spectrum will go on to get an undergraduate degree within six years. Yet, 90 percent of students in the top one-quarter of the income spectrum will obtain their degree. Quite simply, socioeconomic status will greatly determine whether a student gets a
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Updated May 20, 2017 |
 Low Standards Mean Higher Failure Rates at Community Colleges
We look at a recent study by the National Center on Education and the Economy that indicates standards are too low at community colleges today. That low bar results in a high failure rate in the job market.
Disturbingly low standards at community colleges nationwide translate to lower chances of success in the job market after college, a new study finds. Researchers discovered that although community college instructors appear to be lowering the bar for first-year students, many were unable to even meet the lower academic standards in math and literacy. This dismal picture suggests multiple layers of reform may be necessary to ensure students are ready for the professional workforce at graduation time.
 
Report Gauges College and Career Readiness
 
The new report, titled, “What does it Really Mean to be College and Work Ready?” was compiled by the National Center on Education and the Economy. The non-profit groups studies academic standards, instructional systems and assessment. Researchers looked at seven community colleges in seven states, looking at tests, textbooks and assignments given to first-year college students. Colleges were chosen at random and school size ranged from 3,000 to 30,000 students, according to Inside Higher Ed.
 
The study focused on popular career training programs offered by community colleges across the country, including accounting and business, automotive technology, criminal justice, early childhood education and information technology. Researchers focused on first-year students in these programs, and focus was placed on reading, writing and mathematics skills necessary to master these early college courses.
 
Lower Standards Still Not Met by Many Students
 
Researchers discovered that the bar set by college instructors in first-year courses was fairly low in terms of both reading and writing expectations. However, Education Week reports that many students are
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Choosing a School

Getting Started