When Do You Apply for Community College?

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Use this article to find out when and how you should apply to a community college. Check out what you need to know about financial aid and other topics you should consider before you enroll.

Timeframe for Applying to a Community College

Community colleges tend to be far less rigid about application times than larger educational institutions. With year-round application reviews, many community colleges simply require you to register at some point before your class begins, though some may require you to register 30 days or more before the class starts. Most community colleges operate on fall, spring and summer start dates for semesters, so it's worth checking with the college you're interested in attending so that you don't miss the enrollment window.

Factors That Affect Your Enrollment

While you generally have a lot of freedom in enrollment at a community college, you should keep some of the following factors in mind.

Financial Aid Deadlines

Many community colleges require you to file for financial aid by a particular date. This applies to financial aid offered by the college, as well as to aid offered federally through FAFSA. Different states have individual deadlines of application, and the federal cut-off is typically in late June for a fall start. If you haven't applied and registered for your classes by that date, you could find yourself ineligible for the financial aid you need, so make sure you research the requirements of your state.

Score Reports

Some community colleges require scores from placement exams for registration in order to place you in the appropriate college-level course. Having the scores in hand when you apply can help ensure you're able to attend your community college at the time that works best for you.

Securing A Spot in a Course

Even if you can wait until the last moment to register, you probably shouldn't. Keep in mind that many community college courses fill up quickly. Waiting until the last minute to register can limit your options and lead to a postponement of required courses or may mean you get stuck in a course you're not interested in taking. Try to go over your choices early and register as soon as the classes open.

How Do I Apply to a Community College?

Requirements vary from college to college, but generally you will be able to register online after providing your basic information. You may need to set up an account on the college's website. Depending on your circumstances, you might have to transfer in credits from another institution.

Check out these lessons on applying to colleges to learn more about the exact steps you should follow as you get ready to apply to the college of your choice. You can make sure you're choosing the right school for you by considering this guide to finding a college.

What Else Should I Consider Before I Apply?

If possible, consider speaking with a counselor before you register for your classes. Counselors can help you determine the best classes for your situation and can help you get more information if you plan to transfer to a 4-year college.

If you are interested in transferring your credits, you should make sure that your selected 4-year schools will accept credits from the community college you're planning to attend. You can check out these lessons on low-cost transfer credit to learn how you can make earning transfer credits work for you.

Get ready for college at whatever point you register with this course on college success. You'll learn how to manage your time and sharpen your study skills to ensure you get the most out of your college experience.

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Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

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