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Your HOW TO Guide


Sunday, May 5, 2013 — The Newnan Times-Herald — 1D

Valuable Advice For Making Informed Decisions

How To Choose A Community College C

ommunity colleges offer a great way to start your academic career before moving on to a four-year college. And many community colleges offer partnerships with universities so you to earn a bachelor's degree right on campus. Community colleges are a great option for students with families, full-time jobs and outside responsibilities. Tuition at a community college is often much less expensive than that at a large university. Research different community colleges in your area to make sure you choose one that meets all of your needs. Some things to consider include location, tuition costs, courses of study and ease of scheduling.



The location of the community college should be readily accessible by car, as there is typically no or very limited on-campus living. If possible, choose a community college no more than 30 minutes away. You’ll be more likely to attend class if you don’t have to drive for hours to get there.

Find out what type of financial assistance the college offers. Many civic groups and businesses concentrate their monies on their local community colleges, and finding financial assistance is a mere phone call away. State and federal grants and loans can also help defray the costs of higher education.



The cost of attending any college is always a major factor in your decision-making. Many community colleges have two levels of tuition: one for in-area residents and one for out-of-area residents. If you live in the same county as the community college you will attend, you can expect to pay a third to half of what others will pay.

If you know the major that you want to study, find a community college that offers that program. This may mean you cannot attend the closest school.

versities. Nothing is worse than attending college for two years only to find out that your credits won’t transfer.

Community colleges are a great option for students with families, full-time jobs and outside responsibilities.



Make sure that the community college is accredited or has a cooperative partnership with local or state uni-

If you find that several community colleges offer your choice of major, research their internship pro-

gram and employment statistics. Choosing the college with the better statistics may benefit you after graduation.

es are offered several days of the week at different times. Many colleges offer weekend classes as well.



Most community colleges will post their class schedules online or include a flyer with the local newspaper. You can also pick up a copy of the current class schedule from the college itself. Look at the offerings. If you need classes in the late evening, are there enough available to make it worth attending that college? What about distance learning opportunities? Many colleges allow students to earn an associate’s degree completely online. Non-traditional students may need a more flexible schedule. Look to see if class-

If you are in a hurry to graduate, look for a community college that offers accelerated programs. If you are simply looking to earn a certification for a current or future job, you can accomplish this at a community college, also. Be sure to ask your employer about tuition reimbursement. Consider all aspects of your education when choosing a community college. Finding a college that meets all of your needs will ensure a positive educational experience.

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L E Fairburn



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