It is no secret that college admissions are becoming more competitive. As the children of the baby boomers era enter into their college years, the sheer number of applicants is overwhelming.
Since 2000, each year has seen record numbers of applications. For example, the University of California, 2007 saw more than 110,000 applications – which was a historically record-breaking statistic. According to NYU, their 2007 applications increased by 8.5% in 2007, which also marked record highs.
How can you stand out from the crowd of 4.5 wielding valedictorians, speech and debate captains, and decathlon champions? The answer is quite easy: get competitive with a college edge – a community college edge, that is.
Using community college classes to strengthen your application
College admission committees evaluate your overall application to answer one looming question: will this student farewell at our esteemed institution? Demonstrating your academic skills in high school classes, whether you are taking regular, honors, or AP courses, is certainly important. However, excelling at high school courses does not guarantee your ability to stay competitive at the college level.
Standing out from the crowd of applicants means demonstrating your academic prowess at a college level. You can easily make your application shine by taking courses at your local community college. With the variety of classes, you can take courses at night, online, or even on the weekend – making it easy to fit into your schedule.
You should speak with your high school counselor to determine if the college courses you take will count as credit towards your requirements for high school. Often times, you can take a community college course as a substitute for a junior or senior year elective. Therefore, you will not only gain a competitive edge in your college application, but you essentially kill two academic birds with one stone.
Save thousands by earning credit at community college
With the skyrocketing rates of college tuition, taking courses at your local community college is also a financially savvy move. Many community college courses transfer directly to four-year universities for full credit, and thus, you save both time and money before you even step foot onto your university campus. The likelihood of a full-credit transfer depends upon the articulation agreement between your community college and your chosen four-year institution. However, if you are considering attending an in-state university, chances are many of your classes will transfer.
This brief video compares the cost of community college with for-profit colleges.
In addition, at community college, you have the option of taking any introductory course you like, allowing you to explore potential majors that interest you. This can not only steer you in the best academic direction but also saves you valuable time in college determining what your major is. Instead of wasting your freshman and sophomore years trying to pick your major, and in the process taking classes that will not go towards your bachelor’s degree, you can get a head start by taking community college classes.
Explore interesting subjects beyond the high school curriculum
Although high school classes cover a broad range of concepts, many students may feel inspired by other subject matters. If you have ever been intrigued by architecture, graphic design, fashion sketching, or even horticulture, you can explore those interests fully with community college classes. Given the expertise of community college professors, coupled with their desire to prepare students for interesting professions, you can truly explore all your interests, as well as learning great knowledge and skills in the interim.
Or, if you do not feel challenged with your current high school classes, stimulate your mind with intriguing community college courses. College courses call for greater interaction, as well as a strong level of self-analysis. Professors will typically encourage you to develop your own theories and conclusions, which fires up your cognitive activity. In addition, you will be working with classmates who share that same intellectual passion as you do, making the entire experience more intriguing and challenging.
Affordable tuition offers ample academic opportunity
Class tuition at community colleges is affordable, especially if you are simply taking one or two courses. For example, at Pasadena City College, the cost per unit is only $20. Thus, for an entire semester, your class fee for a three-unit course is $60.
Or, your high school may offer a sponsorship program with your local community college. If you attended Sto-Rox High school in Pennsylvania, your community college tuition fees would be covered by a state-sponsored program. Regardless of what state you attend high school in, your school district may provide a sponsorship program that will pay for your community college classes – making your interesting education completely free, yet full of significant short-term and long-term benefits.
With the competitiveness of today’s college applications, it becomes increasingly important to stand out from the crowd. Demonstrate your higher education academic prowess by taking community college courses – while you simultaneously gain high school credit, college credit, interesting knowledge, and determine the best major for you.
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