The courses you should take for your first year in community college will vary depending on whether you intend to complete a two-year degree, transfer to a four-year college or university, or are enrolled in a certificate program. All community colleges have an academic advising office, which will help you plan your class schedule. Take as many required and general-education courses as possible during your first year and access student success courses and programs.
Before you choose any courses, you should establish an educational plan with an academic adviser or the academic counseling office. The plan will identify the courses you need to take throughout community college. You will enroll in 12 to 15 credit hours of classes per semester if you are attending full time. Educational plans are also called program plans at some colleges. They are part of matriculation, an academic term that covers student enrollment, testing, transferring and graduation.
Nearly all community colleges as well as four-year universities require students to show college-level reading, vocabulary and writing skills before they can graduate. First-year English courses include composition and rhetoric as well as introductory literature. Some students may place out of freshman college English through high scores on placement tests. Even if you test highly in English, consider taking classes in composition and rhetoric, which teach valuable research, organization and writing skills.
Math and Science
Community colleges also require students to show they are competent in college-level math. Math requirements vary depending upon student majors and educational goals, but college-level algebra is required by most community college districts. Science courses are also required for the majority of two-year degree and transfer programs. Most community colleges offer science courses for non-science majors, but biology, chemistry and physics may all be required, depending upon individual educational goals.
Take advantage of the student success, first-year orientation and study skills courses and programs offered at your community college. Research conducted by the Florida Department of Education confirmed that Florida student success and orientation courses led to higher graduation and transfer rates among students who took the courses. Most student success courses count toward degrees or transfer credits. Students who take the courses are 20 to 30 percent more likely to graduate or achieve other academic goals.
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- The College Board: Community College FAQs
- State of California Legislative Analyst: Prioritizing Course Enrollment at the Community Colleges
- Community College of Philadelphia: Academic Advising Educational Plan Worksheets
- Center for American Progress: What's in a College Credit?
- San Diego Mesa College: Testing Center
- Owens Community College: Owens First Year Experience Program
- U.S. News Education: Community Colleges Consider Math Options
- Community College Research Center: Do Student Success Courses Actually Help Community College Students Succeed?
- Inside Higher Ed: Success Begets Success
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