These Are the Benefits of Taking Community College Classes During The Summer
It may not be your idea of summer fun, but taking community college classes during your summers offers several major benefits.
These benefits include:
- Preparing for college
- Saving time and money
- Making your college application stand out
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these benefits, plus give you a basic rundown on how to enroll in community college classes this summer.
How do high school students enroll in community college courses?
Many high school students dual enroll in community college classes. Dual enrollment means that a student is enrolled in two academic institutions at once, usually a high school and a college. Credits earned in college classes can apply to both high school diploma requirements and college graduation requirements.
However, dual enrollment isn’t the only way for high school students to take community college classes. Another option is to simply sign up for a class. Many community colleges allow high school students to enroll in certain courses.
If you want to earn high school credit through your community college, you may need to take the course during the school year. If, however, your focus is on earning college credit, summer is the perfect time to enroll.
During the summer, you won’t be juggling multiple other classes. This gives you time to really concentrate on your community college course, earn a high grade, and make the most of this beneficial experience.
Top Benefits of Taking Community College Classes During Your Summers
Now, let’s look at some of the main benefits you’ll get from dedicating part of your summer to community college classes.
1. College Preparation
Enrolling in a college course will allow you to test-drive college-level coursework. Even at the community college level, college classes are more rigorous and faster-paced than your average high school class.
Getting some experience under your belt now will help you adapt to these changes in advance. You’ll learn what study habits work for you and what steps you need to take to succeed in college-level classes. When you graduate from high school and become a full-time college student, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
Depending on what classes are available to high school students, you may even discover a subject or field that you love. This can give you a better idea of what major and/or career you’d like to pursue in the future, which is useful information to have as high school graduation approaches.
2. Saving Time and Money
Since community colleges are more affordable than four-year institutions, taking care of some entry-level college courses now will save you money in the long run, as long as the college you ultimately attend accepts those credits. (This is something you’ll likely want to look into as you’re deciding which colleges to apply to.) You’ll also save yourself some time and earn your degree faster than you would otherwise, in this case.
The first two years of college, you mostly focus on general education and entry-level courses. These courses may have little to do with your major or your career plans, and they’re often delivered lecture-style in auditoriums filled with 200 (or even more) students.
As you advance into your junior and senior years of college, you’ll take upper-level courses that are directly related to your interests and goals. These courses usually have 20 or fewer students, offering opportunities for discussion and building relationships with peers and professors.
So, another benefit of taking community college courses is that you can end up fast-tracking your route to the more interesting, more engaging advanced courses. The more prerequisites you can get out of the way now, the faster you’ll get to the good stuff.
3. Enhancing Your College Application
Colleges love to see that you’ve used your summers productively. Taking courses at your local community college is one of the most productive ways you can spend your time.
Plus, it shows that you’re an ambitious and dedicated student. Enrolling in community college classes during the summer demonstrates an excellent work ethic and a high level of academic achievement. It creates the impression that you’re a scholar and a learning enthusiast who isn’t afraid of sacrificing part of your summer to learn. That’s impressive!
Community college courses are also beneficial if your school doesn’t offer many AP or advanced courses. Selective colleges want to see that you’re a student who takes on challenging assignments, so taking a class at a community college is a great way to show colleges that you want to challenge yourself. If you’re a student in a rural area or school district that doesn’t provide a wide course offering, you should definitely check out community college courses.
Taking community college classes is not only impressive to selective colleges, but it also shows that you can handle the workload once you’re a college student.
If you want to make your college application stand out and show that you’ve used your summers wisely, enrolling in community college classes is a great way to do so.
Are there any disadvantages to taking community college courses during the summer?
Before you sign up for community college courses, talk to your guidance counselor about which credits are likely to transfer to the four-year institutions you’re interested in attending. You can also review credit transfer policies on the college’s website or contact the school.
If your main reason for taking these courses is to save time and money, you’ll want to make sure that your credits will transfer.
Another consideration is whether you’re ready for college classes. Ideally, you’ve already taken an AP class or two and have some idea of what to expect. Understand that college courses will require more effort and more outside-of-class work than you’re probably accustomed to. (Of course, it will be helpful that you’re only managing one or two courses instead of four or more.)
If you’ve done your research, you’re prepared to spend some of your summer studying, and you understand the commitment you’re making, then there are no major disadvantages to enrolling in community college courses during the summer.
Steps to Enrollment
If these benefits appeal to you, start the enrollment process by following these steps:
- Talk to your guidance counselor. Your counselor can help you choose what course(s) to take and give you advice on enrolling in community college classes in your state. The counselor can also help you determine whether you can get high school credit for the course(s) and whether college credits will transfer to the universities you’re interested in attending.
- Talk to your parents. Work with your parents to see what courses are available, as well as times, locations, and cost. You’ll want to make sure that your summer college plans fit into your family’s schedule and budget.
- Apply. Typically, high school students will have to apply to the community college first. Most community colleges have open admission policies and a very straightforward application process. Some have minimum ages, and many require high school students to demonstrate college readiness with a placement test.
- Register for classes. Once you’re accepted and you’ve passed any necessary placement tests, you can register for classes. You may also have to attend an orientation for first-time college students.
Final Thoughts: These Are the Benefits of Taking Community College Classes During The Summer
Hitting the books instead of the beach might not be your ideal summer vacation. But taking community college classes this summer (or during future summers) can pay off in the long run.
You’ll be able to:
- Adjust to college-level coursework earlier than many of your peers
- Gain valuable knowledge about your interests and strengths
- Save time and money
- Get to the more interesting and relevant college-level courses faster
- Impress college admissions officers
Plus, summer classes are much shorter than most college courses, usually just four to six weeks long. That means you’ll actually have time to hit the books and the beach, all while reaping these excellent benefits.
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