How to Apply for Community College: 9-Step Guide


Did you already know that nearly half of all undergrads within the U.S. go to group school? In reality, there are 1,100 group faculties nationwide, they usually enroll 13 million students!

If you are seeking to make that 13 million and one, learn on to learn to apply for group school: from deciding the place to use to enrolling in lessons. Before getting the ball rolling, let’s evaluate what group faculties supply their students and a few good causes to use.


What Can Community Colleges Offer to Students?

Most group faculties supply two-year Associate’s diploma packages in all kinds of educational and pre-professional fields. A rising quantity additionally supply Bachelor’s levels, although most of those packages are comparatively new and restricted in choices.

People who run group faculties know that not each student needs to cease at their Associate’s diploma; in truth, many students attend group school to earn credit and switch to a four-year school. To ease this transition, a lot of group faculties have “articulation agreements” with their native state faculty system.

These agreements permit a student to switch credit easily from group school and enter as a junior in a 4-year program. Students may apply to colleges outdoors of this settlement, however they could have to put a bit extra particular person effort into ensuring their credit will switch.

This plan, sometimes called a “2 + 2” plan, can have severe monetary advantages. Community faculties are typically extra inexpensive than 4-year establishments, and their versatile class occasions make it simpler for students to work part-time and even full-time jobs.

Most group faculties are open entry, that means that each one students can enroll (aside from a couple of packages, like nursing and engineering). Many students respect the usually small class sizes and attentive professors, who are likely to spend most of their time instructing reasonably than doing analysis, as with lots of their counterparts at analysis universities.

While most group faculties are commuter colleges with out residential services, they usually supply golf equipment, sports activities groups, and assist providers that permit students to attach with each other and college workers. These advantages type the idea of the primary causes that students apply to group school. Let’s break down these causes in a bit of extra element.



It’s all the time good to make clear your causes earlier than taking a giant leap.


Why Do Students Choose Community College?

Students apply to group school for a lot of causes. Some highschool students select a twin enrollment monitor, during which they take group school lessons to satisfy highschool commencement necessities. Some grownup students return to high school after working for a number of years to additional their training or pursue a brand new diploma or profession change. While students at 4-year faculties are typically round 18 to 22, the common age of students at group school is a bit of older at 28.

For the needs of this information, let’s go over the widespread causes that students who’re about to or who’ve not too long ago graduated highschool select group school, beginning with these on the lookout for skilled coaching.


To Get an Associate’s Degree or Professional License

Community faculties are a really perfect choice for students who know they need to go into sure skilled fields and are in search of the coaching or credentials to take action. Some of those occupations embody nursing, medical assistants, law enforcement officials, engineering technicians, and dental hygienists, amongst many others.

As talked about above, a couple of packages, like nursing and electrical engineering, could ask for sure conditions from candidates. Usually, these are particular math and science lessons in highschool and a minimal GPA. Otherwise, the packages are open enrollment.

While some students apply with the objective of an Associate’s diploma or different certification, others enter group school meaning to switch after a 12 months or extra generally, two years. These subsequent three causes apply to students seeking to switch and in the end earn their Bachelor’s diploma.



Maybe your GPA wants a exercise earlier than making use of to 4-year faculties.


To Strengthen Their GPA

For students planning to switch to a 4-year school, attending group school is usually a sensible and strategic approach to strengthen their GPA. Most 4-year faculties require a GPA of a minimum of 2.0 or 2.5 to use. For students who had decrease grades in highschool, taking group school lessons will be a chance to carry up their grades.

They can increase their GPA, earn credit, and switch to a school to which they could not have been accepted instantly after highschool. For students seeking to develop their writing and math abilities, they will take the time to take action in remedial lessons. Any ESL students, moreover, can hone their language abilities in English language lessons.

Once students have accomplished a minimal variety of credit (normally two years price), they usually do not should ship SAT or ACT scores to switch. This may assist students get into faculties they won’t have been capable of proper after highschool.

A few years in group school may also help students strengthen their educational abilities and renew their dedication to additional training earlier than transferring to a Bachelor’s program.


To Figure Out What They Want to Study

On the same word, a 12 months or two in group school is usually a good approach to determine what precisely you need to research. Rather than leaping into school feeling uncertain about their course, some students take group lessons to discover their choices. Since group faculties are typically loads much less financially burdensome, they make this sort of exploration extra possible.

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While most group faculties need students to use to a particular monitor of research, they do let you swap if you wish to pursue a special area of research. If you are planning to switch, you’d simply need to work carefully along with your advisor to be certain that you are incomes the correct credit for a future Bachelor’s diploma main.



Community faculties are typically loads cheaper than 4-year colleges, as any monetary advisor/ceramic pig price his weight in pennies will let you know.


To Minimize the Financial Burden

I’ve talked about a couple of occasions that group faculties are typically cheaper than 4-year faculties. Exactly how a lot cheaper are they?

According to the National Center for Education, the common group school value for a 12 months (tuition, supplies, different charges) was $9,574 in 2013. While this can be a vital sum, it is lower than half of the common for 4-year colleges of $23,872.

In addition to saving cash on tuition, group school students are eligible for monetary assist, together with federal grants, federal loans, state assist, and institutional assist. Plus they are able to select night, weekend, or on-line lessons that permit for a part-time or full-time job.

Students thought-about “in-state residents” get in-state tuition, which is why most group school students select colleges near dwelling (together with the comfort of the placement). If they switch to a state faculty by way of an articulation settlement, then they additional get monetary savings with in-state tuition. Ultimately, their diploma comes from the establishment from which they graduated, similar as any student who attended for 4 straight years.

Now that we have gone over the primary causes that students attend group school, let’s go over how one can apply!



Do because the Atlantic puffins do. Take issues one step at a time.


How to Apply For Community College, Step by Step

As mentioned above, most group faculties are open enrollment, so they do not require as a lot documentation as do functions to 4-year colleges. Every faculty I do know of permits you to apply on-line. Your first step, although, is deciding the place to go.


Step 1: Decide Where to Apply

Since group faculties are open entry, you do not have to ship functions to a couple completely different security, goal, and attain colleges as you’ll for different faculties. Instead, except you are making use of to an particularly selective monitor, you’ll be able to determine the place you need to go and simply apply there.

If your predominant concern is staying near dwelling, as it’s for a lot of students who will probably be commuting, then it’s possible you’ll merely select the college in essentially the most handy location. Most states have a number of group faculties; Massachusetts has 15 in 24 areas, New York and Texas have over 30, and California has 113! Chances are, you should not have an excessive amount of hassle discovering area people faculties.

Of course, you additionally need to ensure that the college has this system(s) you need. Research its web site, electronic mail the admissions workplace, go on a tour, and attend info periods. These needs to be accessible all year long, and normally, you’ll be able to join by way of the college’s web site. Simply go to the web site and discover the “Visit Us” or “Information Session” web page. That method you’ll be able to be sure to discover one of the best group faculties with the packages and assets you want.


The majority of school candidates are highschool seniors, and many of the school software recommendation out there’s aimed toward them. But what do you do if you happen to do not fall into this slender class? Our eBook on put together for and apply to school as a nontraditional student will stroll you thru all the things it’s worthwhile to know, from the coursework it’s best to have beneath your belt to get letters of advice once you’re not a highschool senior.

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Once you have found out the place to enroll, you will discover its on-line software.




Step 2: Fill Out and Submit Your Online Community College Application

While many 4-year colleges use the Common Application or Universal Application, most group faculties have their very own on-line software portals. Just a few states supply one system for all of their group faculties, akin to California with its “CCCApply” website.

Every school designs its personal web site, however most may have a tab the place you’ll be able to click on “Apply.” You can see a couple of examples of the applying pages of this northeast group school, Bunker Hill Community College, together with the Community College of Philadelphia and City Colleges of Chicago (word that the Chicago colleges have you ever fill out an preliminary type after which ship you a student ID quantity to fill out the remainder).

While they’ve some variations in design, most group school functions ask for a similar particulars: your identify, handle, citizenship, residency, highschool, and meant main. Most ask in your total objective, whether or not you need to earn an Associate’s diploma or certificates, purchase private or skilled abilities, switch to a 4-year establishment, or enter the workforce.

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If you have already taken some school programs, then you definitely could possibly switch credit. Additionally, these functions ask if you happen to’re making use of for monetary assist. Your final step will probably be offering your digital signature and hitting submit.

As for when to use for group school, most functions are processed inside 24 to 48 hours, permitting you to enroll as late as two weeks earlier than the beginning of lessons! I would not suggest leaving your software this final minute, particularly if you happen to’re making use of for monetary assist, nevertheless it’s a pleasant again up in case another plans fall by way of.

As you’ll be able to see, you usually need not write essays, collect suggestions, or ship SAT / ACT scores to group faculties. Generally talking, the one doc it’s worthwhile to present out of your highschool is your diploma, GED, or transcript.


Step 3: Provide Your High School Diploma, GED, or Transcript

Community faculties need to see proof of previous or upcoming highschool commencement. If you do not have your diploma from commencement but or a GED, it’s best to ship a replica of your transcript. This will present your anticipated date of commencement and supply proof that you simply’re working towards fulfilling your highschool necessities.

You can get your transcript out of your steerage counseling division. Then you’ll be able to add it to your on-line software, mail, or ship it to the school in particular person. If you do have your diploma or GED, you normally need not ship your transcript, apart from the choose packages with their very own necessities. You can simply ship a type of paperwork.



If your faculty wants your ID, make certain yours has a primary identify.


Step 4: Provide Proof of State Residency, If Applicable

If you are making use of for in-state tuition, then you definitely might have to offer proof of in-state residency. Students who’ve attended excessive colleges in the identical state because the group school for greater than a 12 months normally need not ship any additional proof. Your transcript will present that you simply lived and attended faculty in-state.

If you did not attend highschool within the state or the school asks for additional documentation, you would ship a state driver’s license, native bank account, car registration, voter registration, or state or federal earnings taxes with in-state residential addresses. All of those needs to be dated a minimum of a 12 months earlier.

If you are a dependent, then the doc you ship ought to belong to a mum or dad. If you are an impartial, then it ought to belong to you.

If you are unsure what steps it’s worthwhile to take right here, it’s best to contact the group school to get their recommendation. You would not need to miss out on monetary assist attributable to confusion with the applying. The group school ought to contact you if there are any points, nevertheless it’s nonetheless worthwhile to be proactive and ask them for steerage.


Step 5: Submit Your FAFSA

Another necessary monetary consideration is making use of for federal monetary assist with the FAFSA. Your timeline for this will likely truly fall sooner than your software to group school. The FAFSA software opens up on January 1. As the U.S. Department of Education itself suggests, it’s best to submit your FAFSA as early as attainable “to ensure that you do not miss out on available aid.”

Financial assist is one other good cause to plan early for school. The FAFSA will ask you to checklist the universities to which you are making use of so it will probably ship them your calculated monetary want and estimated contribution. If you modify your plans, you’ll be able to signal again in and add a recipient. However, the smoothest plan is to checklist your group school on the time you apply to FAFSA.

In addition to making use of for federal monetary assist, you would possibly seek for and apply to different exterior scholarships. There are all kinds of scholarships on the market with completely different necessities, so that you would possibly discover one which appears made only for you!



The new student orientation offers you an opportunity to study in regards to the faculty, meet new individuals, and never have to fret about forgetting anyone’s identify.


Step 6: Attend a New Student Orientation

As talked about above, it is a good suggestion to attend a campus tour and an info session earlier than you apply to study extra about your potential faculty. Many group faculties additionally maintain orientations for brand new students. These normally span a day or two and provide you with details about monetary assist, placement testing, student and campus assets and insurance policies, and educational steerage.

They might also have you ever arrange a college account and electronic mail handle. If your faculty gives its personal on-line portal, then you definitely’ll in all probability do your class registration and different communication by way of that.

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Step 7: Take Placement Tests in Math and English

One distinctive requirement of group faculties is their placement assessments. After the school processes your software, you will be invited to take placement assessments to find out your stage for math and English lessons.

While you do not have to take the SAT or ACT to enroll, it’s possible you’ll end up exempt from these placement assessments in case you have a minimal SAT or ACT rating. These range from faculty to high school, however are typically round a 450 on SAT Reading or a 47 on ACT English and Reading mixed. For math, colleges normally need to see round a 450 on SAT math or a 22 on ACT math.

Placement assessments do not have an effect on whether or not or not you get into group school. Instead, they assist to find out what programs it’s best to absorb your first semester. It nonetheless could also be helpful to evaluate math and English materials earlier than taking them to be sure to do not find yourself in a category repeating a lot of what you already realized in highschool.



Your advisor’s there to assist!


Step 8: Meet With Your Advisor

By the time you meet with an advisor, you need to be all set with enrollment and placement testing. Your advisor can speak to you in regards to the lessons you need to take, in addition to provide you with steerage about necessities and lessons that might switch credit to a 4-year faculty, if that is in your plans.

You may ask her about alternatives outdoors of sophistication, like cultural golf equipment, sports activities, language teams, and assist providers. To benefit from this assembly, make certain to analysis lessons and put together questions.


Step 9: Register for Classes

Finally, you will register in your lessons! Full-time students normally take about 4 to five lessons per semester. The first semester for first years tends to be extremely structured, so it’s possible you’ll not have a variety of selection with these first few lessons.

If your registration is delayed, double examine that you have paid all of your charges and supplied all required documentation, like proof of immunization (required for all school students after they begin as freshmen – and grad students too, for that matter).

Once you have registered for lessons, you are all performed with the applying course of! It’s time to settle in and get finding out! Now that we have gone over the steps for apply for group school, is there anything you are able to do to prepare?



To absolutely put together, it’s essential to cross a mountain vary with nothing however a strolling stick and a backpack stuffed with books.


How Else Can You Prepare for Community College?

While you’ll be able to technically apply to group school on the final minute, you would be significantly better off planning early, like within the winter or spring of senior 12 months. Spend a while researching area people faculties or out of state colleges and their packages. Attend info periods, go on a tour, and attempt to communicate to present and former students about their experiences.

You ought to make clear your causes for attending and total targets to be sure to’re selecting one of the best lessons and incomes the credit you want. Part of this analysis might also contain studying in regards to the group school’s articulation agreements with state colleges and different 4-year colleges to which you would possibly in the end apply. While you is probably not certain precisely what 4-year school you will finally switch to, you’ll be able to nonetheless work carefully along with your advisor to study credit necessities and the way and when to use to Bachelor’s packages as a switch student.

As you attend information periods and meet along with your advisor, make certain to put together some questions about software necessities, class registration, and/or switch agreements. By gathering all the knowledge you want, you’ll be able to benefit from your time at group school to study, earn credit, and work towards your long-term educational {and professional} targets.


What’s Next?

Are you additionally contemplating 4-year faculties along with group faculties or simply questioning what the applying course of is like? To study extra in regards to the course of, try this entire information to making use of to a 4-year school.

Are you making use of to school, however your GPA is decrease than you need? Don’t be discouraged! Read this information to learn to put collectively a powerful school software regardless of decrease than common grades.

Colleges can get costly, so that you need to be on the ball about monetary assist. This complete information goes over all the things it’s worthwhile to learn about making use of for monetary assist, step-by-step.


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