Us Community Colleges See Chilling Decline In Enrollment During Pandemic
Experts worried about long-term impact on low-income and non-white Americans, populations community colleges tend to serve
David Ramirez, a student at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California, struggled with balancing work and classes during the pandemic. Ramirez, who works at Starbucks, worked at least 30 hours a week in addition to his classes.
He wasnt alone. The number of students enrolled in community colleges local educational establishments that offer two-year courses and are often seen as an affordable stepping stone to higher education was down 9.5% this past spring, about 476,000 fewer students than in spring 2020, according to National Student Clearinghouse data released last month.
The fall has experts worried about the long-term impact of the pandemic on the less-well-off. During recessions, enrollment at community colleges tends to increase as those who become unemployed go back to school. But the disproportionate impact Covid-19 had on low-income and non-white Americans, populations that community colleges tend to serve, created a plunge in community college attendance during the pandemic.
Online classes, especially for science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, were particularly frustrating to manage as the material was difficult to learn virtually.
I imagine a lot of students simply gave up, he said.
Its going to increase the divide between education have and have-nots.
Send A Complete Application Packet So As To Not Delay Your Acceptance
While admissions requirements vary by institution, the community college system is fairly standard with the requirement of a recent high school transcript for high school seniors or a proof of graduation in the form of a diploma or final high school transcript for those applicants already out of high school. Students that submit a complete application for admission will likely hear of their acceptance within two weeks of submission.
Get The Classes You Want
To get the best selection of classes, you should register as early as possible for the upcoming semester. Check Registration Dates to learn when registration begins.
Before you choose classes, you need to see which classes youre eligible to take. This is based on your Placement Testing.
We recommend that you next meet with a counselor to discuss what classes you should take. The counselor will make sure the classes you choose fit in your program and lead toward graduation. If youve never attended college, you must meet with a counselor before you can register.
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Provide Proof Of State Residency If Applicable
If you’re applying for in-state tuition, then you may need to provide proof of in-state residency. Students who have attended high schools in the same state as the community college for more than a year usually don’t need to send any further evidence. Your transcript will show that you lived and attended school in-state.
If you didn’t attend high school in the state or the college asks for further documentation, you could send a state driver’s license, local bank account, vehicle registration, voter registration, or state or federal income taxes with in-state residential addresses. All of these should be dated at least a year previous.
If you’re a dependent, then the document you send should belong to a parent. If you’re an independent, then it should belong to you.
If you’re not sure what steps you need to take here, you should contact the community college to get their advice. You wouldn’t want to miss out on financial aid due to confusion with the application. The community college should contact you if there are any issues, but it’s still worthwhile to be proactive and ask them for guidance.
Taking The Required Tests
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How Else Can You Prepare For Community College
While you can technically apply to community college at the last minute, you’d be much better off planning early, like in the winter or spring of senior year. Spend some time researching local community colleges or out of state schools and their programs. Attend information sessions, go on a tour, and try to speak to current and former students about their experiences.
You should clarify your reasons for attending and overall goals to make sure you’re choosing the best classes and earning the credits you need. Part of this research may also involve learning about the community college’s articulation agreements with state schools and other 4-year schools to which you might ultimately apply. While you may not be sure exactly what 4-year college you’ll eventually transfer to, you can still work closely with your advisor to learn about credit requirements and how and when to apply to Bachelor’s programs as a transfer student.
As you attend info sessions and meet with your advisor, make sure to prepare some questions about application requirements, class registration, and/or transfer agreements. By gathering all the information you need, you can make the most of your time at community college to learn, earn credits, and work toward your long-term academic and professional goals.
Add Classes After The Semester Begins
Once classes begin, the only way to add a class is to email the instructor for an add code. The instructor’s email address is in the course information in WebAdvisor. If the instructor has room in their class, they will email you an add/authorization code. Students who were on the waitlist for the course before the start date will be given priority. Use the instructions below to register for the course using the code.
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Too Early To Assess Fall Enrollment At Community Colleges Say Experts
While some experts are expecting a jump in the popularity of two-year institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the data doesnt yet reflect such a trend.
Community college enrollment tends to be countercyclical, said Paul Feist, vice chancellor for communications at the California Community Colleges chancellors office.
Based on experiences during previous economic downturns, it is reasonable to expect increased enrollment, but Feist said that may not happen as much as in the past when the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic are factored in. We are planning that we will have additional not huge, but additional enrollment growth in the fall, Feist said.
Numbers for the summer session currently underway are mixed, said Feist. Some colleges are reporting solid gains over the same period as 2019as much as almost 10%but others are not showing any increase. It is too early to assess fall numbers, he said.
On the positive side, online education has become much more sophisticated over the past decade. There are 115 community colleges in California, one of which is all online. Feist said approximately 18% of the education was online prior to the pandemic and now nearly 100% is online. On the flip side, some students are struggling with online education for a variety of reasons.
If there is a marked rise in enrollment, Parham has no doubt about the overall ability of community colleges to meet the demand.
What Can Community Colleges Offer To Students
Most community colleges offer two-year Associate’s degree programs in a wide variety of academic and pre-professional fields. A growing number also offer Bachelor’s degrees, though most of these programs are relatively new and limited in options.
People who run community colleges know that not every student wants to stop at their Associate’s degree in fact, many students attend community college to earn credits and transfer to a four-year college. To ease this transition, lots of community colleges have “articulation agreements” with their local state school system.
These agreements allow a student to transfer credits smoothly from community college and enter as a junior in a 4-year program. Students can also apply to schools outside of this agreement, but they may need to put a bit more individual effort into making sure their credits will transfer.
This plan, often referred to as a “2 + 2” plan, can have serious financial benefits. Community colleges tend to be more affordable than 4-year institutions, and their flexible class times make it easier for students to work part-time or even full-time jobs.
Most community colleges are open access, meaning that all students can enroll . Many students appreciate the typically small class sizes and attentive professors, who tend to spend most of their time teaching rather than doing research, as with many of their counterparts at research universities.
It’s always good to clarify your reasons before taking a big leap.
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Is It Bad To Apply To Colleges Late
The truth is that it may not be too late. Many colleges continue to accept student applications well past posted deadlines and throughout the summer. Some schools may even continue to accept students right up until the beginning of classes in late August or early September.
What You Need To Know About Applying To Community College
For many years, applying to a community college was considered the “back-up” option for most students and families. Many felt that attending a community college was only necessary in the event that the student did not get admitted to any of the four-year colleges and universities to which he or she applied. In recent years, this perception has changed, and applications to community colleges have increased. Applying to, and eventually attending, a community college prior to moving on to a four-year college or university has proven to be a much more savvy financial option for many students and families, especially in Massachusetts. With programs such as the Commonwealth Commitment, students are not only able to save a significant amount of money, but are also guaranteed admission into the four-year state college or university of their choice if they maintain the requirements of the program. While we realize that not every community college student plans to move on to a four-year Massachusetts higher education institution, there are still so many benefits of attending a Massachusetts community college. The first step in taking advantage of the community college experience is to submit the application for admission. There are some key points to keep in mind with regards to submission:
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Don’t Panic Help Is Here
2020 has been a challenging year. If you were looking to start or continue your higher education journey this fall, it’s easy to understand how you could have gotten off track. But it’s not too late to make an important investment in your future by enrolling in college this fall.
Rolling, Regular and Open Admissions: Which is Best for Late Applicants?
Most colleges use three different admission methods: rolling, regular, and open.
Regular admission means that the college waits until all applications are in by the due date before making decisions and responding. Many colleges with a regular admission method have application deadlines in January.
Colleges with rolling admissions have a longer window in which you can apply. They respond to applications as they get them, so you know sooner if you have been accepted.
Regular and rolling admission processes are usually competitive. That means only a certain amount of applicants will get a spot in the class. A number of factors can be used to determine who is accepted. They may include grade point average, standardized testing scores, like the SATs, extracurricular activities, and more.
Open Admissions at Northampton Community College
Some programs at NCC, such as nursing and sonography, are competitive. You have to apply and wait to see if you are accepted into these programs. If you are not accepted initially, you can take general education courses at NCC that will count towards your degree before reapplying.
To Figure Out What They Want To Study
On a similar note, a year or two in community college can be a good way to figure out what exactly you want to study. Rather than jumping into college feeling unsure about their direction, some students take community classes to explore their options. Since community colleges tend to be a lot less financially burdensome, they make this kind of exploration more feasible.
While most community colleges want students to apply to a specific track of study, they do allow you to switch if you want to pursue a different field of study. If you’re planning to transfer, you’d just want to work closely with your advisor to ensure that you’re earning the right credits for a future Bachelor’s degree major.
Community colleges tend to be a lot less expensive than 4-year schools, as any financial advisor/ceramic pig worth his weight in pennies will tell you.
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How To Enroll At A Community College
This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 67,858 times.
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.
Take Placement Tests In Math And English
One unique requirement of community colleges is their placement tests. After the college processes your application, you’ll be invited to take placement tests to determine your level for math and English classes.
While you don’t have to take the SAT or ACT to enroll, you may find yourself exempt from these placement tests if you have a minimum SAT or ACT score. These vary from school to school, but tend to be around a 450 on SAT Reading or a 47 on ACT English and Reading combined. For math, schools usually want to see around a 450 on SAT math or a 22 on ACT math.
Placement tests don’t affect whether or not you get into community college. Instead, they help to determine what courses you should take in your first semester. It still may be useful to review math and English material before taking them to make sure you don’t end up in a class repeating much of what you already learned in high school.
Your advisor’s there to help!
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Its Not Too Late To Enroll In College
You may be asking yourself, Can I still get into college at this late date?
In my job as a college academic adviser, I often hear that question this time of year, because the fall term for colleges generally begins around mid-August. At most institutions community colleges, public universities and liberal arts colleges the answer is, Yes, you can!
The key is to phone or email the admissions office at the college in which you are interested, right away.
If you call the admissions office, have a pencil and paper ready for taking notes and be sure to write down the name of the person who is helping you. Ask for a list of steps you need to follow to apply and get enrolled. Ask questions when something is not clear to you, and keep asking until you understand.
Organization is key to a successful last-minute enrollment. Make a checklist of Things to Do and be sure to get them done within the time frame you have been given.
Here are the steps typically found on a new student checklist:
Complete an online application. Many colleges charge an application fee, most ranging from $20 to $50.
Apply for financial aid at www.fafsa.gov. Even if you dont think you will be eligible for financial aid, some scholarships require that you apply for it.
Contact the college financial aid office if you have questions or need help with this step. Some people find it helpful to ask a financial aid adviser to walk them through the process in person.