Can you take just a single class at a community college?

Community colleges are open to any and everybody and are known to be very accommodating, unlike most private educational institutions. Because of this, it is not only possible but extremely common for students to take just one or two courses for various reasons, which we will explore in this article.

Key Takeaways

Community colleges are open to any and everybody and are known to be very accommodating, unlike most private educational institutions. Because of this, it is not only possible but extremely common for students to take just one or two courses for various reasons, which we will explore in this article.

So yes, you can definitely take just one class at a community college. In fact, around 60% of students studying at community colleges are part-time students. But the big question is, why are so many students, more than half of their student population, studying part-time at these institutions?

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Can I benefit from taking just one class from a community college?

As it turns out, there are many varied reasons for taking a single course and all of them eventually help build or broaden the student’s opportunities for higher education, careers, and even life in general. For example, some students take single classes at community colleges while enrolled in university just to shorten their time to achieve a degree. 

So let’s review the top seven reasons for taking only one community college class to see how you could benefit. 

You'll be interested in: How many classes should you take in college?

1. Having trouble trying to figure out what to do after senior year?

Many high school students struggle with assessing their interests and goals by the end of high school. Some students, on the other hand, become double-minded about the field they plan to pursue in the future. 

Well, community college is a great place for such individuals because it offers them the opportunity to try out a subject or a field of study before committing and investing the rest of their lives to it… sort of like a changing room at your local clothing store where you try an outfit before you buy it. 

Not sure if you want to major in Marketing or Advertising? Well, take a class in both courses and see what piques your interest before committing yourself to that 4-year bachelor’s program. 

If you’re looking for a perfect course made just for you, Unmudl’s coast-to-coast network of leading community colleges has an extensive selection of courses

2. Easier transition for international students

According to the Institute of International Education’s 2020 Open Doors report, in 2019-2020, the U.S. welcomed almost seventy-nine thousand international students that chose to study at a community college. This clearly shows that it is a popular choice for studies by foreign students.

For those international students that chose a four-year program at a university instead, community college is still a good opportunity for taking a class or two. Not only does community college classes cost a fraction of what universities/colleges classes do, but the student-focused education approach can help make the transfer to the American education system easier. 

Related: 10 benefits of attending community college

3. Taking courses that your school doesn't offer

Some students find themselves at a crossroads when they realize that one of the classes they were interested in is full at the university/college that they are attending. Taking that single class at a community college not only allows you to cross it off your checklist but doing so may also be cheaper.

Alternatively, there are cases where your university simply does not offer a class or course that you might be interested in. For example, you are enrolled in a music school but you have a vision to one day have your own business in the music industry. For this reason, you might want to take a short Management or Marketing course. But what if your music-focused school does not offer such an option? 

Well, you could just find a community college in your area that does! Also, in certain cases, you may find yourself at a crossroads. You might be interested in programs at two different community colleges, this is known as dual enrollment and it is absolutely possible!

However, in either case, if you are also interested in having credit hours transferred back to your primary university or college, make sure that they allow transferable credits from the community college you wish to attend.

4. Gaining skills for work and building your careers

Community college is not only for fresh high school graduates but is also open for those looking to gain a new skill or improve upon an existing one related to their workplace. 

According to a 2020 article in U.S. News, the average age of a community college student was 28. You may wonder why so many “older” students are attending these community colleges. 

Some of them are already part of the workforce and they want to take that extra course that will help them advance in their careers.

Certificate programs offered at community colleges are extensive and designed to cater to certain jobs and occupations. Most community colleges offer online classes too, which makes it even easier for employees to manage their time effectively and reach their professional goals.

Taking a single class at a time can help to advance your knowledge in your work field. The certification that is achieved at completion can be used to build your resume and pursue better job opportunities or get that elusive promotion you have been trying to get.

A lot of the certifications on Unmudl produce the diverse, job-ready talent that employers are looking for, so be sure to check those out if you’re looking to upgrade your skills. 

5. Improving your track record

If your high school grades are not meeting the prerequisites set by the college you wish to go to, opting for a course at community college and performing well in it can be extremely helpful.

Student enrollment percentages at community colleges are much lower than that of 4-year universities/colleges. 

According to many students, attending a smaller school, with more one-on-one attention has helped with the transition into large-scale universities/colleges. 

However, to improve your high school record, make sure to choose a credit course and not an audit course (in an audited course you attend all the classes but don’t take exams, so you are not given any certification or credit upon completion). People take audited classes for personal goals only and not professional ones.

In a similar case, if you are an adult who was unable to go to college and you wish to take a course to help get you on the path of eventually getting a degree, community college is a good place to start. The hands-on approach to education and the ability to be able to take a single class allows individuals to work full-time and take classes simultaneously.  

6. Earn extra credits & discover new topics

Some college students wish to utilize their summer to gain extra credits. Many students already enrolled in a 4-year university/college sometimes wish to apply to community colleges’ summer enrollments. 

Taking a single class can prove to be extremely beneficial as it allows students to discover in-depth specific courses that they wouldn't be able to fit into their regular semester schedule. Students can also take this opportunity to get extra credits over the summer. 

7. Personal growth

For some, taking a single class at a community college could be solely to help them grow as an individual. 

You can find a variety of classes ranging from foreign language to pottery and music. Always wanted to learn French for that trip you have been planning? Or perhaps you want to take up painting? So if you have been wondering, “Can I take a college course for fun?” the answer is, “Yes you can!”

Community college courses are a perfect opportunity for someone who wants to indulge more in their interests and passion. These colleges are also a great source for networking, as the students there are a diverse group of people with different backgrounds.

These are just seven reasons why anybody would take a single class or two at a community college. As you go through them see which ones apply to you. 

A gorup of diverse students sitting together and smiling
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What are the requirements for taking a single class at a community college?

As far as requirements are concerned, most community colleges are known for having an Open-Enrollment approach. Students typically do not have to fulfill any academic requirements or compete with others for admission. 

However, in certain situations, the admission process may not be as simple because of the high demand and/or the number of applicants. Some requirements, if any at all, for taking a course may include

  • Having a high school diploma or GED
  • Taking school required placement tests such as the ACT, SAT, TOEFL, or ESL
  • Basic understanding of the English language
  • Submitting proof of residency

Note: Specific requirements vary from college to college and it is best to check with the college you plan to apply to.

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Some things to look out for

While there are many benefits of taking a class at a community college, there are three things you must keep in mind.

1. Credit Transfers

Before even applying to a community college, it is important to know whether the primary university you wish to apply to eventually accepts the credits from your college of choice. Every credit that you take at these places may not be transferable to a 4-year accredited institution. So please do check before applying.

2. Motivation

Despite the change in perception of community colleges over the years, there are still many students that are studying at these places because they have nowhere else to go. If you are someone who thrives on competition, the lack of competitiveness can be demotivating.

Similarly, while community colleges do offer extra-curricular activities to some extent, it is far from what is considered traditional “campus life”. Most students attending a community college fit their academics around their pre-existing schedules instead of having school be their life. For the students who are looking for a fully integrated social campus life, community colleges will most likely not be able to give you that.

3. Your future timeline

In the event you're interested in taking more than just one course, you'll want to consider what your future time commitment at that school might look like.

Although the standard time to complete community college is two years, there are often many different types of programs to choose from with very different timelines. So be sure you look into how long it will take you to complete community college if you think you might end up taking more than just one community college course.

So, is taking a single class at a community college for you?

We have already seen that a lot of students/employees are doing just that to broaden their opportunities in many different ways. One or more of these reasons may apply to you as well, in which case the answer is yes, it is a very smart thing to enroll in that class or two! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to earn extra credit by taking a single class at a community college while being enrolled in a 4-year university/college?

Do community colleges offer single-class courses?

Is it good for international students to take a single class at a community college?

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