Keep in mind that when you decide to attend a community college, you’re committing two years of your life to full-time study at the community college that you choose. Sure, it’s possible to transfer from one community college to another, but that can be a headache. Instead of hopping from one community college to another and risk losing transferable credits as a result, put time and effort into choosing the right school for you.
Considerations for Choosing a Community College
Now is the time to be selfish: think of the things you like to do, the ways you learn best, and what you like spending your time doing. For example, if skyscrapers and noise pollution are stressful then a rural atmosphere might be a better fit; or perhaps you hate the country and love the fast-pace living of a metropolis? Pinpoint which location would make you feel more comfortable and apply to community colleges there. There are fifty states in America and each state is remarkably different. There are numerous community colleges out there for you that will fit your academic and social needs- you will need to simply search for a school then narrow down your options.
Arguably, one of the best ways to determine whether or not the community college you’re interested in is the right fit for you is to visit the campus, or take a virtual tour at minimum. Community colleges offer campus tours just like all other colleges and universities. Go for the tour, but stick around and explore on your own, it’s important to get a feel for the overall vibe of the campus. A couple of things to take note of include:
- Do the students look engaged and happy to be there?
- Is the student life center bustling with activity or does it resemble a ghost town?
- Do students seem to be mingling or keep to themselves?
- When peeking in classes do students look engaged?
- How is the upkeep within the facilities and on the grounds?
When you visit the campus talk to students and faculty asking questions about their time at the college you’re touring. Here are a few questions to get the conversation started:
- What tutoring resources are available to students?
- Are there any automatic admissions agreements or some other form of partnerships between the community college and local four-year universities?
- Is there a place for students to socialize and get to know each other?
If you’re unable to visit the community college you’re interested in consider asking a relative or friend in the US to check out the campus for you. It’s not as good as firsthand knowledge, but it’s better than not knowing what’s in store for you.
Also, besides exploring the college’s website, look at the catalog and compile answers to common questions like:
- What programs are offered?
- How many international students attend the college?
- What is the graduation rate?
- What are the housing options?
- Do they have the sport or club you’re interested in?
Community colleges normally have various satellite campuses strategically placed throughout the community. While at a traditional university, you might have only one or two campuses to choose from, but depending on the size of the community college you choose, you might find that you have the option of five or more different campuses. This means that you can explore different parts of the city or town just by going to class.