It took me five years to finish community college. Here’s what you shouldn’t do.
Don’t fall into these traps
By now, parents, guardians, or teachers require many high schoolers to head off to college, get the degree and get a job with the degree. A good number of them enter community college in hoping to finish within two years and moving on to a state or private institution. For few community college students, it leaves them in limbo, spending year after year in community college with the goal to finish, but they can’t seem to. It leaves them wondering, Why is it taking so long? I’ve been in a community college for three years, and I’m nowhere close to finishing. Perhaps you’re doing something wrong and don’t know you are. If you don’t know what the problem is or barely starting, here are few things you shouldn’t do to make your community college experience worthwhile and less time-consuming.
Don’t change your major all the time
When high school students head into college, a good number of them don’t know what to study. That’s fine, the only thing which matters is to get the basic curriculum completed. After that, choose a major in your interest (i.e. English, art, history) and stick with it. If you can’t, choose another, but don’t change it all the time or you’ll never get the degree.
Don’t take classes unrelated to your major
There are so many interesting classes in college which can create a new interest or hobby, but it isn’t part of your degree. Focus on the classes in your major. They aren’t only core classes, a few of them are electives. Passing unrelated classes adds to your units and makes it harder to get financial help. If you want to experiment with other classes, take one every other semester or only one a semester. No need to spend all this time taking the wrong classes, you want the degree.
Don’t go to community college without financial help if you need it
The college system has many programs to help those in certain financial situations. Understand what programs are available to you, so you don’t have to pay a cent. One of these programs comes as financial aid, which makes community college free to an extent. Eventually, if you go over your units, you can get disqualified from financial aid. Because of COVID-19, the financial service is lenient with people who go over their units. Understand the rules of financial programs, submit your FAFSA or get your parents or guardian to submit it for you, and get one step closer to getting the help you need.
Don’t go to multiple community colleges
I understand many students leave a campus because of their living situations. If it isn’t a problem, stay at the college, no matter how much you dislike it. The campus many look unappealing, but every community college in the United States is running on the same curriculum, so every student is learning the same way. Only because you go to a fancy pants community college in Austin, Texas, Irvine, CA, or Safe City, U.S.A doesn’t change your performance. No need blaming your environment for your performance. We are all learning the same way.
Don’t waste your opportunity with virtual classes
Many of us are living in interesting times. We are in an episode of the Twilight Zone every day. With are predicament, many of us are taking college courses online. Students spend every day watching Zoom or Microsoft Team lectures and submitting all their work through the computer. It’s very easy to get lazy and not do any of the work. It’s better to wallow in self-doubt in a corner while in a fetal position. COVID-19 is stressful, I know, but don’t let it overwhelm you. With classes online, it’s very simple to do the things you once did face-to-face. Exams have gotten easier, and we can use resources from the internet to do them. It may feel as if you are cheating, but it’s not. Nothing wrong with receiving a little help. Many exams have timers, so make sure you understand the information or get your resources set up to take the test.
Community college is a valuable first step for many students. You can use the time to figure out what your interest are and apply it to your major. Get help from college programs like financial aid to make your college experience less stressful. With COVID-19, it’s easier to do many of the tasks once challenging with face-to-face. No point in wasting the time with this tremendous opportunity.
I hope you enjoy your time in community college and finish within the two-year time span. No matter who you are and where you form, you can achieve anything. Don’t let the messaging of others tell you otherwise. Go. Make a change.