Guest Post By  Ken Myers

Community college is a great idea for students who are just setting out, are on a budget, or returning to school.

Community colleges are usually much cheaper than traditional private and even state schools. They also offer convenient locations, better class hours, and education that equal that of any other college. In fact, I recommend that all recent high school grads attend community college for their first two years of school. Not only will they save money and avoid racking up huge student loans, but they can also get a great education close to home. To make your community college experience successful, s=however, you may need to know these few tricks that I have picked up in my studies. These tips can apply to any college experience, but I have found that there are some unique issues that occur only in community colleges.

  1. Enroll early – Community college classes get filled up fast. Because there are so many students and the classes are affordable and at convenient times, they tend to get full very early. If you do not want to take classes that are late at night or very early in the morning, then I suggest enrolling early. I like to enroll as soon as the classes open so I can be sure to get the ones I need.
  2. Pay attention to class schedules – Speaking of getting the classes you need, sometimes classes are only available in certain semesters. Pay attention and talk to an adviser when setting up your schedule. I would hate for you to have to wait a whole year for one class because you missed your opportunity.
  3. Get the paperwork done before - It is very important to get all your paperwork done long before your classes ever start. Colleges are notoriously slow at getting transcripts, test scores, and financial aid verification done. Community colleges are even worse. It is your responsibility to make sure everything is complete before you try to sign up for classes.
  4. Check twice –When you think you have everything done, check again. Wait until about a week before the semester is about to start and go in and talk to EVERYONE. Financial aid, advisors, the billing office, even print out your course schedule one more time. So much can go wrong at the last minute and make you miss out. Do not let that happen and check far enough ahead that you can fix the problem before it becomes insurmountable.
  5. Get to know the staff –A lot of times when you have issues you will run into unhelpful or unknowledgeable staff members. Most are students just like you who have only been trained in the basics. Do not let this slow you down. Get to know who is in charge, by name and face, and request to talk to them when you have issues. You can even get their direct phone line or email address for questions. Most of the senior staff is very helpful and knowledgeable once you get to them, but getting to them is the problem. When the office is not busy, that is your time to make lasting and helpful connections. It will definitely pay off for you in the long run.
  6. Look elsewhere for books –Do not be suckered into paying high prices for your text books. Sometimes you have no choice, like in online or pd necessary books, but most of the time you can buy your books used for half the price! Look online or at the local college bookstore alternative. They are usually located very close to campus and offer great deals without the shipping charges or wait time. They even have new books cheaper than the on-campus book store. Do not waste your money, shop smart!
  7. Easier to drop than add –If you are unsure of how many hours you want to take the next semester, or even which classes, you should always sign up for them anyway. It is much, much easier to drop classes than it is to add them. Not only that, but once classes get full you are out of luck. Be smart and sign up early. I’m not saying to be a class hog and go overboard, but be wise in your choices and always assume that if you do not act now, you will not have a chance to later.
  8. Do not worry about your major –Community college is not the place to worry about your major. If you plan on continuing on to a four year school, then you do not really have to worry about it. Of course, you might want to choose between the art route and the science route, but beyond that just take it easy. Everything is pretty much standard.
  9. Think about other campuses –If the class you need is not available at your campus, think about looking elsewhere. Oftentimes a community college, especially in large cities, has more than one campus. A class may be offered there that is not offered at your home campus. You can always drive a bit for a semester and get the class you really want or need. As long as you are enrolled in one branch, all the other campuses should have no problem taking you on too.
  10. Go online –Due to the wonders of technology, many community classes are now offering hybrid or online classes. Not only are they cheaper than typical college classes, they also offer you the opportunity to get them done on your own time and with your own learning style. Hybrid classes have you come in to the classroom just a few times to answer questions and things and then do the rest online. Whatever the case, online classes save you time and the drive to campus.

Community college is a great way to get your education started. Whether you are a first time student, a recent grad, or a retuning adult; the education provided by community colleges is top notch and much more affordable. Following these simple tips, you can have a successful and fun education experience.

Author Byline: Ken Meyers the editor in chief is a frequent contributor of Ken helps acquiring knowledge on the duties & responsibilities of nannies to society. You can reach him at k.meyerst20 ATk .