Congratulations! Enrolling in your first semester of community college marks an important milestone in your professional career. Building your academic accomplishments and technical skills creates the springboard for your future working endeavors.
However, for many students, the first semester of community college is not met with flying colors. In fact, according to 2007 research by the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), approximately six out of 10 community college freshmen with high school diplomas drop out after the first semester! Therefore, it is important to understand what to expect in your first semester of community college; this will help with supporting your transition and long-term academic success.
Choose the appropriate classes
Although you will most likely be asked to take placement tests, you will also have great freedom in choosing the classes to take at community college. It is important that you carefully evaluate your academic abilities – as well as your long-term interests – to determine what your first semester course load should be.
Are you looking to transfer to a four-year institution from your community college? If so, your first semester curriculum will be different than the student who is planning to enter into the workforce with an Associate’s degree. If your ultimate goal is to transfer to a four-year college, then it is important to begin planning within the first semester. You generally only want to take classes that will afford you transfer credit, while still meeting all of the general education requirements.
Students who begin planning their transfer from the first semester of community college have higher rates of transfer success than those who do not. On the other hand, if you are not planning to transfer to a four-year institution, it is important that you still plan to fulfill the pre-requisites for your major, ensuring that you can graduate and enter the workforce on time.