wikiHow to Enroll at a Community College

Four Parts:Taking the Required TestsFilling Out the ApplicationApplying for Financial AidFinishing Up

Community college is an affordable option to get your feet wet in higher education. You can get an associate's degree at community college or use your local community college to get the basics out of the way before you transfer to a four-year college. Enrolling sounds difficult, but you will have many people along the way to help you if you need it.

Part 1
Taking the Required Tests

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    Find out which tests your school requires. What tests you need to take can vary greatly by school. Before you commit to a test, check with your school to find out what the entrance requirements are. In addition, they should be able to tell you what score you need to make to get in.[1]
    • Look on the school's website or contact the admissions office to find out more.
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    Take national college tests. Most schools will allow you to use the national standardized tests for getting into community college. The two main tests are the SAT and the ACT. The SAT focuses more on math, writing, and reading, while the ACT has a science section, as well.[2]
    • These tests cost money, and you must schedule them well in advance. Most communities only offer them on certain dates, usually on Saturdays.
    • You can visit the websites for each test to find places in your community to take them or ask at your local high school. You can also register for the test online.[3]
    • You should prepare ahead of time for these tests by reviewing practice tests and materials. The websites for the test have practice tests you can take.[4]
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    Take a placement test. Some community colleges require placement tests in place of the national college tests, though most schools will take either one. You will likely need to take the test at the school. Each school's test will be a little different, but likely it will test you in math, reading comprehension, writing, and science.[5]
    • Some schools will even allow you to take one from home.[6]
    • Usually, the school's placement test will be a little cheaper than the national test. However, if you plan to move on to a four-year college, you might as well take the national test, as you will need it then.
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    Use other methods for placement. Some schools allow other tests to be substituted for the standard placement tests. For instance, sometimes Advanced Placement (AP) scores can be substituted, which are scores on tests for college-level classes you took in high school.[7]
    • Other possible substitutes include the IBT and the IELTS, both of which are English exams.[8]
    • You may also be admitted if you already have a college degree or you've passed an English class at another school, though it must be college-level.[9]

Part 2
Filling Out the Application

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    Find the application. Most schools have online applications now. Find your school's website, and locate the admissions page. You should be able to quickly find the online application.[10]
    • You likely can still apply with a paper application if you prefer. Contact the admissions office of your school to find out more.
    • In some cases, you may be able to fill out one application to send to all the community colleges in your state, called a common application. Texas has this program, for instance.[11]
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    Designate the type of program you want. Many community colleges offer more than just associate's degrees. For instance, many offer continuing education courses and noncredit courses. You may also need to take dual education courses or even finish high school.[12]
    • For an associate's degree, you'll need to select credit courses.
    • Noncredit courses are often just offered for fun or to learn a new skill, while continuing educations are meant for professionals who are required to have a certain number of hours per year for their jobs. Dual education is when you take a class at a community college while you are still in high school and earn credit in both places.[13]
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    Decide on a course of study. When you enter, you need to tell the school what you want to study, also known as a major. Most community colleges have degrees in things like business, accounting, or nursing.[14]
    • Your school will have a list of majors you can pursue while you are there.
    • You can change your course of study, but at a community college, it can take you much longer to finish if you change in the middle.
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    Fill out your biographical information. You'll need information like your state of residence, your address, your parents' names, and your Social Security number. You'll also need information on factors such as your citizenship and ethnicity.[15]
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    Fill in the academic requirements. This area will include your testing scores and your transcripts and information from other schools. You'll need to know things like your high school grade point average (GPA). They may also have questions about any CLEP or AP tests you've taken that give you college credit, as well as any credits you'll want to transfer from other schools.[16]
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    Find the appropriate documentation. You will need to back up much of what you've reported in your application. For instance, you'll need high school transcripts and transcripts from any other colleges you've gone to. You'll also need to designate the community colleges you've chosen as a place to send test scores when you take the test, or you need to have them sent afterwards. All of this documentation must be official copies.[17]
    • For official transcripts, contact your previous school. They will send a transcript for you. However, you will often need to pay a fee, though some high schools do it for free.

Part 3
Applying for Financial Aid

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    Do your tax returns. To fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you need to have your tax returns done. If you're a dependent, you'll need your parent's tax returns done as well. Since federal aid is based on income, the FAFSA needs tax information.[18]
    • A dependent means your parents still claim you as a dependent on your tax return. In that case, their incomes will be used to determine your financial aid. It's also based on your age. The FAFSA can help you determine your dependency status, as it asks you a series of questions.[19]
    • If you must turn in your FAFSA before your tax returns are done, you can estimate your information when you turn it in. Later, you will need to amend your FAFSA with the proper information.[20]
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    Find the FAFSA. The best way to fill out the FAFSA is online at the government's website for FAFSA. However, you can also download a form to print and mail in, or if you prefer, you can request a paper form by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).[21]
    • Filling out online make the process faster, plus you can save some data year to year.
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    Create a FSA ID. Creating an ID is not absolutely essential, but it makes the process much easier. If you create a FSA ID, you can sign your FAFSA electronically, as well as pull in information from the IRS.[22]
    • To create an ID, you will need to give an email address and a username. You will also need to create a password, as well as enter some biographical information, including your Social Security number.[23]
    • Once you submit it, you need to verify your email by clicking a link that the website sends to you.[24]
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    Fill out the form. Basically, you will need to complete biographical information. You'll will also need to list your school or potential schools so they will also receive the information. Most of the time, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which just means the FAFSA will automatically pull in information from the IRS to fill out the income data you need for your FAFSA.[25]
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    Send your application in early. Your school will likely have a deadline for you applying for financial aid. Keep in mind that the FAFSA can take as long as a month to be returned to you with your financial aid package, so you need to start it well in advance of the deadline.[26]
    • Your community college's deadlines should be up on their website with the admissions information. If it's not, contact the financial aid office at your school.
    • You usually need to apply for financial aid before you're accepted. However, sometimes it's not as crucial for community colleges as it is for traditional colleges because their financial aid deadlines are often not as early. Still, it's best to check when the deadline is.
    • Your state may also have deadlines, so use the FAFSA's website to calculate yours. They have a place where you put in your state of residence and the school year you'll need financial aid, and it will tell you what your state's deadlines are.[27]
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    Fill out the school's scholarship application. Many schools have a separate application for scholarships.[28] Scholarship awards can be based on income, minority status, grades, and a whole host of other factors, so fill it out even if you don't think you're eligible.
    • You should also consider looking for scholarships outside of your community college. Check with some of your local charitable organizations, such as the Rotary Club. Many of these organizations give out scholarships. You can also look at scholarship search engines or ask at the financial aid office at your college. Your high school's guidance counselor office should have information, as well.

Part 4
Finishing Up

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    Wait for your acceptance letter. Before you enroll, you need to be accepted to the school. Your community college should have information up on when you will receive your letter, so if you don't receive one around that time, contact your school. If you're not accepted, you can always try again for another semester, though you may need to retake some tests and do better on them to gain admission.[29]
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    Meet with an adviser. Before enrolling, many schools have you meet with an adviser. In place of that, some schools will have a group registration and enrollment session. Find out what your school requires.[30]
    • While it may seem like a pain, these sessions can help you sort out what classes you'll need to enroll in, as well as what you need to do to complete registration.
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    Register for classes. Once you've been admitted, you need to sign up for classes. Generally, your program will have specific classes you need to take. Often, you will need to take them in a specific order, which will be laid out. Sign up for the first classes you need.[31]
    • These days, you can usually sign up for classes online. Sometimes, you need an adviser's approval first.
    • If you can't sign up online, you can visit the registrar's office.
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    Finish up payment. While your financial aid will cover much of your school, it may not cover all of it. If it doesn't, you'll need to finish paying for the classes yourself. Luckily, community college isn't as expensive as four-year colleges. [32]
    • You'll likely be able to pay online. If not, go to the registrar's office.

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Categories: College University and Postgraduate