How Can I Find the Best Community College for Me?

Q: I want to go to community college in a particular location. Can I find a school exactly where I want to be?

A: Community colleges are often located in major cities and even smaller cities that are home to universities. If you want to find a community college in a particular city or state, try using a search such as the one on the American Association of Community Colleges.

Q: I want to follow a particular course of study. Will I be able to find what I want to study at a community college?

A: Matching your educational interests with what a school has to offer is an important consideration when selecting a community college. Community colleges offer general classes such as math, English, government, and history, but many also offer very specialized programs such as those to prepare you for careers in nursing, law enforcement, teaching, and high tech fields.

Q: What kind of credentials might my instructors at a community college hold?

A: Most instructors at community colleges hold at least a Master’s degree in their field of specialty. If an instructor does not hold a Master’s degree, he or she will likely have a Bachelor’s degree and several years of experience in their field.

Q: I will be working and supporting my family while attending college. How can I afford to do it all?

A: Many students at community college receive financial aid to help pay the expenses for their education. You can find out more about specific financial aid opportunities at your community college’s financial aid office. Online, you can find out about federal financial aid opportunities including how to qualify for loans, scholarships, and grants as well as start the financial aid process by visiting the FAFSA website. In addition to financial aid, many community colleges provide support services for their students. Some community colleges also participate in national initiatives such as Achieving the Dream that work to promote student success.

Q: Can I take classes online at community college?

A: Yes, many community colleges offer online classes and some offer whole degree programs online. Students at community college are often juggling many responsibilities in addition to their education such as jobs and families, so online classes, also known as distance education, not only help with the accessibility of classes, but are an integral part of many community colleges’ course schedule.

Q: Will my credits from a community college count towards a degree at a four-year college or university if I decide to transfer?

A: What credits will transfer depends on several variables, including the quality of education you receive at your community college and which credits you are interested in transferring. If you are attending an accredited community college, your chances of being able to transfer your credits are much greater than if you are not attending an accredited school. You will need to check with the four-year institution you are interested in attending to determine exactly what will transfer.

Q: Can I live in a dorm at a community college?

A: Most community colleges do not provide housing opportunities such as dorms or co-ops for students. Most students at community colleges find their own residences in apartments, house sharing, or with family members.

Q: What is the student life like at community colleges?

A: The level of student involvement in extracurricular activities at community colleges varies from location to location. Some campuses are mostly commuter-oriented, serving almost solely as a place for students to learn. Other campuses are filled with activities and organizations to round out students’ free time such as international student organizations; political, religious, and academic groups; and intramural sports. Finding a community college that offers the level of student activities you want is important to your selection process.

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