Applying to community college is a breeze. You don’t have to submit essays or SATs like in universities. All you have to do is follow our 9 easy steps and you are done.
There are a few simple steps to quickly enroll in a community college. Community colleges are designed to have education accessible easily to anyone interested in getting one.
This easy-to-follow guide will take you one step at a time and get you quickly admitted to a community college of your choice
Unlike universities that require you to write long demanding essays, have competitive GPAs, and a host of other admission prerequisites, community colleges are very simple to get into.
The primary reason why the US government created community colleges is that it realized the private education system was too demanding financially, procedurally, and curriculum-wise for the average American.
All of this, of course, restricted access to education to a large portion of American society. To counterbalance this problem, community colleges were opened up throughout the country. They came with a promise to make education easily available for all.
This should help explain why community colleges are so easy to apply to and to study at.
Today 12.4 million American students use the community college network to get quality higher education. This guide will take you through easy-to-follow steps that will get you admitted to a good community college of your choice. So let’s get started!
Everything that you need to do to get into community college has been broken down into four simple to follow steps below.
If you want to find out what are some great benefits of attending community college give this article a read.
Community college vs university
First, let us quickly explain what a community college is vs a university.
The difference is basically in the degrees they offer. Community colleges offer a two-year associate’s degree while a university offers a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Here is a great article re: the difficulty levels of community college vs university that you should be going through later.
The quickest way to enroll in a community college, if done right, takes only four steps and I have explained them below:
Step 1: Choose a community college
For most people choosing a community college is a quick and simple exercise - just ask what are the community colleges near me that offer a course I am interested in. Most community colleges offer all the courses that are currently in demand.
Unmudl Tip: You should browse websites to see which college offers which courses or alternatively, a better way is to search Unmudl for a community college nationwide.
Unlike typical universities, community colleges are more focused on the workforce requirements of the surrounding communities. They know the jobs employers need filling and the supply and demand shortages in the workforce.
Because of this, the courses they offer are all relevant and get you employed quickly.
Relevant: If you are looking at changing your career, community colleges are a great way to get the right credentials to do that quickly.
In the event that you want to apply for a course that is not available anywhere near you then you might want to look further away but within your state.
If you want to apply to a state different than that of your residence, just keep in mind that most community colleges have higher tuition for out-of-state students vs in-state students.
Step 2: Submit the online application
Online applications for community colleges are neither complicated nor lengthy like typical university applications. They just require you to submit basic information about yourself. The whole thing can be done in 20 to 30 minutes max.
Unmudl Tip: Make sure you have all the documents handy in one place so you can quickly fill out the application without hassle.
Depending on what state you are in you can quicken the process even further because some states allow you to submit a single application to apply at all the community colleges in that state… let me explain.
States like California have a combined application that will automatically help you apply to any community college within the state. It is very easy to fill out and you can find it here CCCApply.
The state of New York also has a similar combined application system and is called SUNY. Not all states, however, have a combined application system.
Most community colleges have their own online application, however, and as I had mentioned earlier, the good news is that they are very simple to fill out compared to a typical university application.
Community college requirements are more or less the same. They simply want to know your basic information like your full name, address, nationality, residency, the high school you went to, and what you want to major in.
Unmudl Tip: To speed up your application process, make sure you submit your documents along with the application. This will save a lot of unnecessary back and forth.
While you are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, you will be expected to show your High School Diploma, GED, or in case you still haven’t received them, a set of transcripts from your school.
Step 3: For in-state residents, provide proof of residency
Also, make sure to provide proof of residence in the application if they ask for it. In most cases, your high school diploma should be more than enough to prove you are a resident of the same state.
But alternate documents may be sometimes required and these could simply be a driver’s license number, vehicle registration, voter registration, state or federal tax returns from a local address, etc.
Why this is specifically important is because it will determine your tuition. Community colleges have different tuition for residents and for out-of-state students. In some cases, these tuition rates may triple in cost.
Alternatively, in case you are a dependent, you can simply submit a document from your parent or guardian.
Step 4: Finally, take any academic skills assessments
While you are not required to submit any SATs or ACTs, community colleges may require you to take an assessment test especially if you had a low GPA in high school.
This test is basically to determine your math and English abilities and to see if you need any remedial classes for either of them.
You can always skip these tests if you already have a decent SAT score, 450 on both math and reading, or an ACT score with 47 on English and 22 on math.
That’s it. You are done!
Following these four simple steps will get you into community college quickly and without hassle.
Unmudl Bonus Tips: The three Don’ts of applying to community college
We always recommend that you ensure not to make these three mistakes as they slow down your admissions process considerably. We call them the three Dont’s of applying to community college.
1. Don't delay until spring to submit your application
When you find out that your community college application deadline can be as late as two to three weeks before the term begins, you tend to get lazy and delay it till then. Does community college have 100 percent acceptance rate?
Well yes to a great degree but the problem with this is that more and more students are now choosing community college as their choice of higher education. This means that a lot of applications are now coming in for each college.
Now while community colleges are not difficult to get into, they do have limited seats. If they receive more applications than the capacity they have they will have to pick and choose students.
Because of this, it is always best to apply as early as possible so that you have a better chance of getting in.
2. Don’t forget to submit or delay your documents with your application
Remember that we told you about school transcripts? Well, if you have completed your high school and have still not received your diploma then ask your school for transcripts.
All high schools are happy to provide you with them and all community colleges readily accept these as temporary replacements to your final documents.
The reason why we are emphasizing this a lot is because not submitting your documents leads to delays and you might even miss out on the current term of enrollments.
3. Don’t delay your FAFSA or other scholarship applications
As we had mentioned earlier you can start the FAFSA application as early as the 1st of January, even before you have picked a college yet. Almost every student that goes to community college tries to apply for some financial assistance.
With limited federal and state resources it is not a smart thing to do to keep applications till the last minute. Work with your high school or college advisor to figure out which scholarship and grants you might be eligible for and apply as early as possible.
Tips to quicken things further after admission
Apply for financial aid early
Different students have different reasons for getting into community college but by far the most popular one is their affordability. This affordability comes in the form of federal and state financial assistance.
The most important source of federal financial assistance is FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the thing you have to remember is to apply as early as possible.
Keep in mind that every student that applies for federal aid is going to apply with FAFSA so you need to be smart and apply soon after the January 1 applications opening date every year.
In some cases, this will mean that you will apply for FAFSA even before you have locked a community college. This is completely normal as FAFSA will be automatically utilized by any community college you finally do settle on.
Besides FAFSA there are many other state and private scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available to you.
Both your former high school and your new community college can help you shortlist which financial assistance programs you can apply to. Just remember that applying early increases the chances of getting aid dramatically.
Also, having financial aid sorted out will help make the enrollment process quicker.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some states require that community colleges ask for immunization records for all full-time students taking twelve or more credits to ensure they have been vaccinated against specific diseases.
You may be asked to show immunization for the following, but get in touch with your college to see what exactly they require from you and make sure you have proof of immunization ready.
Tdap (booster within last 10 years)
Three doses of Hepatitis B
Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
Two doses of varicella (chickenpox)
Meet your community college advisor
Unless you are very clear on what you want to do in college and beyond, and most students at that age are not, you should go meet your advisor. These trained professionals will help save hours of research on your end.
The academic advisor is the most important person you will work with before and while at community college as they will help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and see what courses you can excel in.
People who are extroverts and good at people skills may want to look into sales and marketing, for example.
The advisor also helps you plan your curriculum while at community college because he can look at what specific jobs you would want to apply to in the future or any specific course requirements towards a transfer to a university.
Start scheduling your time with them as soon as possible so that you don’t have to wait long for open slots. That way you can get all the information you need to enroll quickly.
Orientations are exactly what the name suggests, they help you get your bearings at your new institution quickly. Going to a new college can be a bit overwhelming with class schedules, locations of different classes and departments, etc.
The best way to take in all this information is to attend the orientation which usually lasts a day or two.
Sometimes you can get all this information online which can speed up the process for you.
Register for classes at the end
We suggest you register for classes at the very end because it is important that you are fully armed with all the information from your advisor and the orientation to take a call on what classes and how many to register for.
Remember that one of the great features of community college is that you can pace your studies. You should not try to register for as many courses as you can but instead focus on getting just enough to get the best grades possible.
No one understands you better than you so aim for a quality outcome rather than rushing things. This will be very important post your community college when you are applying for jobs or a transfer to a university.
Applying to a community college is a breeze. You just need to follow our four easy steps and avoid the 3 Dont’s listed above. Unlike applying to a university you don’t need any essays or SAT scores.
Community colleges simply want to help you build your future and for that, they will need you to furnish the most basic requirements like your personal details (name, address, residency) and a high school diploma or equivalent. They will even help you get some form of financial assistance.
Good luck with your application!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to apply for community college after high school
Community college application is a simple and easy process. Just fill out the application, submit your high school diploma, GED or transcripts and you are done.
what are Community college requirements?
Community colleges don’t require essays or SAT scores. They just need your high school diploma, basic information about you, and some proof of residency to qualify for discounted tuition.
When to apply for community college?
The smartest thing to do is to apply as early as admissions open. You can get this information from the websites of all community colleges. While they are easy to apply to they also do have limited seats.
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