Getting Registered and Finding Your Way Around….
If you want to get a college degree from a four-year college or university, you must apply for admission and meet certain admission requirements before you can enroll. The friendly folks in the admissions office will explain what to do. Advisors and counselors help you get started.
Most community and technical colleges have an open door policy. That means they have few admissions requirements. No matter what your background, they will let you take a number of classes. It is possible to go to the campus, go online or use the telephone to select the courses you want to take, fill out the registration forms, and pay tuition fees.
If you want to enroll in a specific vocational, technical, or degree program, however, we recommend that you speak to an advisor or counselor. It may be necessary to go through an assessment of your reading, writing, and math skills. If you need basic skill classes, the advisors and counselors will help you arrange to take them, often at little or no cost.
Community college and technical college classes can lead to a two-year associate degree, but the courses you take may or may not transfer to a university for a four-year degree. If you don’t know what you want to specialize in, check with the counseling or advising office for guidance on transferrable courses. It is a free service and they will help you.
Online College Application Sites:
- The Common Application: website with one application for over 300 colleges nationwide – many private.
- Peterson’s College Apps: a perennial top site for campus information.
- The Princeton Review’s Online Application List: over 600 schools listed.
If you have met with an advisor or counselor and know which courses you need, the college may allow you to register by mail, online or by phone. This will save you much time over campus visits.
If you must be present at registration, have all the forms filled out in advance and have a list of alternate courses. Plan to spend a lot of time standing in lines. Take your Social Security number with you because most schools use your Social Security number as your student identification number.
Be sure to have your checkbook or credit card with you. Most schools require payment at registration, although you may not have to pay the full amount then. Do not stay away because you don’t have the full tuition at registration. Most schools have payment plans. Check with the admissions office or our financial aid tips if you have a financial concern.
Don’t Wait Until Classes Start
If you wait until the day classes start to enroll, you will find that many classes are already full. Once the allotted spaces are gone, no more students will be admitted. That is why it is practical to go to the college a few weeks or even a term ahead of registration to talk with an advisor.
If you want to enroll in a certificate program (usually one year) or in one of the degree programs (from two to four years) talk to an academic adviser at the college a few months before starting the program! Heres why:
- You may need to take special examinations.
- If you want to enter a degree program you will probably have to obtain a high school transcript to show that you graduated and passed all required subjects. (Note: It takes time to obtain a transcript and it usually requires a small fee. You may run into delays if you don’t send the fee with your request.)
- You may have to take placement tests in English or math. Many entering students do not have the basic skills in math, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. They need to brush up those skills in classes provided by the college.
Getting In After a Course is Full
If you must take a certain course at a certain time of day, but find that the course is already filled up, don’t give up. There is a way to get in the class that can work. Even though you are not registered, attend the first class anyway. At the end of the class tell the instructor about your problem and ask for permission to enroll the course.
Most instructors, when approached in this manner, will allow a student into a course. The reason why showing up works so often, is because by the time the second week starts a few students who enrolled will have dropped the course. You need to be assertive to do this, but it is a way to get into a course you need.
Another option may be to go to another college in the area for the one course you need. Take the course and then transfer the credit back. Check with an advisor first to make sure the transferred credit will be accepted.