The Community College Guide for (Freshman) Dummies
I remember every detail about my high school graduation day. I wore a light pink + red dress (it was so cute!), I curled my hair, and I remember my name being called along with the words, “Pasadena City College”. Oh yeah. I was now going to COLLEGE! I was now calling the shots. From here on out, anything and everything to come my way was a decision that I got to make. If I wanted to go to Disneyland on a Monday morning, no one could stop me! In N Out for breakfast? Well, of course! The same concept goes for college. YOU have the power to customize your own experience. You can choose classes, professors, and what time (yes, I said WHAT TIME!) you want to go to class. (Keep in mind you will need to take certain courses to get that degree. But don’t worry! Professors and times are still your choice!) So let’s talk COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
Going to a community college was not my dream. Actually, going to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising was. But, if you were like me and had a hard time in high school, going to anywhere but a community college was not an option. Even though Pasadena City College wasn’t my dream college, I was still beyond excited to make the transition from high school to college student! (Trust me, you will feel like an official adult!)
So You’ve Decided to go to a Community College, Eh?
Well that’s great! And so is the application process! Here it is:
1. Apply online
2. Get accepted
3. Sign up for financial aid
4. You’re In!
That is pretty much the application process for a community college. A few other PROS about going to a community college is that it provides you with so many opportunities while keeping your wallet alive and well! (Think: No $30,000+ tuition!) Being a “**Mr. Grumpy Gills” about going to a **CC? No worries! Put in two great years of your life, granted you get the classes required of you, and you are off to your dream college! (Or any other college besides a CC.) Another great thing about going to a community college is that it gives you time to discover yourself. I can only imagine that if I had gone to **FIDM as a Visual Communications major, how much money I would have wasted as I loved the idea of set design but hated actually doing it. I am now a Communications Art major and it only took one class to change my whole life.
IT ALL STARTS WITH CHOOSING CLASSES
Once you fill out the college application, get accepted, and get approved for financial aid, you will be informed via your personal college account of your class registration date. (**SNAPS: Take advantage of programs that are aimed to help college freshmen (*ehem* YOU!) into their transition. Sometimes, even an incentive, such as priority registration, is given to those who join these groups!) Once you find your registration date and time, write it down, print it out, I don’t care what you do with it, just make sure YOU REMEMBER IT!
Choose Classes and Professors Beforehand - ONE WEBSITE: Rate My Professors. Your school releases the Schedule of Classes catalog in advance for a reason! Read it, pick the courses and times you want, build your schedule, write down course numbers, and memorize them! But most importantly, look up the professors on ratemyprofessors.com and read the comments. This helped me build and per-fect my schedule because I was able to take courses I wanted with professors who I felt would better my college experience. Plus, most incoming freshman won’t know about this website. INSTANT BONUS POINTS FOR YOU!
- The Half Hour Registration Rule (**HHRR) – Online course registration is a battlefield. If your registration time is 8:30 AM for example, you better be ready to go at 8:00 AM. The classes you want could and will be filled up just minutes after registration opens. #thestruggleisreal (SNAPS: Course registration can open up as early as 7:00 AM. Keep an eye out on the courses you want and how many seats are taken and still available. That way, if the course you want fills up before your scheduled time, you will know ahead of time to insert your backup course number instead. You do have a backup plan, don’t you?)
The Backup Plan - Signing up for classes is like waiting the last few seconds of an eBay auction. You either get the class- or you don’t. Keep your course numbers close, but your backup course numbers closer! When you put together your perfect, dream schedule, make sure you also find replacement courses to replace the ones that might fill up quickly. THIS STEP IS CRUCIAL.
Community College is fun and you will meet a ton of people! People who went to your high school, people who went to your high school’s rival high school, and people who come from near and far and from all different walks of life! Take this time to network, take fun classes, and find out who you are and who you want to be. It’s also never too early to sign up for internships! Most importantly, remember: This isn’t high school anymore. Your grades will determine who you are not only to other colleges, but employers as well. This is the time to start a new chapter, turn over a new leaf, and start from the beginning. The Starting Line is right here, but will you make it to the Finish Line?
1. “SNAPS”- These are tips. Why do I call them that? Because I want to. Remember this term! I will be using it often! Too often…
2. “CC”- Community College. Yeah. This one you will pick up quickly.
3.”FIDM”- Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. YOU BETTER REMEMBER THIS ONE PEOPLE! #dreamcollegeforlife
4. “Mr. Grumpy Gills”- C’MON PEOPLE! Finding Nemo ring a bell? No? GO WATCH IT NOW.
5. “HHRR”- Half Hour Registration Rule. If you don’t know this one by now, I can’t help you. #goodluckwiththat