Community colleges are as vital to higher education as ever. And not in the old school, associates degree-and-done sense. Not even close. Over half of all community college students taking courses today are only part-time students, with many like those portrayed on actual show, Community, with sights set also on jobs, family, classes at other schools, and higher rungs of the ladder of degree progress.
As a result, community and junior colleges have become major part of the large web that is postsecondary schooling. Students seek them out for cost-effective supplement classes and specialization courses to prepare for their major or career choice; and the institutions themselves are working more and more in conjunction with these aspects.
It’s probably time we all refresh our views of community colleges and how we, as students, can take advantage of them. Here are some pointers for your next community college endeavor:
Get active advice
Credit transfer eligibility seems to change with the seasons. Be aware of shifting requirements, regulations, and requisites for transfer by touching base with your advisor every new semester, at the least.
Filling out your FAFSA once isn’t enough. In order to maximize financial aid and scholarship opportunities you must apply and reapply as necessary to all possible benefits available to enrollees in one or many community college courses. Everyone likes saving money, but it takes serious effort to do so when rules are changing and your classification as a “student” is too.
Use their facilities
Just because you may be taking only one class or see yourself as “just passing through” your CC, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of its facilities. Community colleges offer gyms to stay fit, writing centers for help on that paper, tutoring, and help with filling out forms. These are even great places to seek employment for some extra cash.
Go to orientation
Maybe its summer and you’d rather be at the beach. Or maybe you think you know everything already because you’re not a freshman anymore. But community college orientation is the best starting point for getting an idea of what the campus offers, both with its services and facilities. Not to mention, you may meet a few people who can help you with classes and assimilating to the campus.
Expect to invest energy
Community college classes are just as demanding, if not more, as a class at any four-year institution. They have the same textbooks, the same lesson plans, and many times professors also teach the exact same class at a nearby four-year school. But given the stigma of community colleges as commuter schools, professors can have even higher expectations for attendance and classroom interaction at a CC and will reward obvious effort on the part of students in their grading.
What’s your take on the new role of community colleges? Tell ACI on Twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org