What Can I Expect in Community College Classes: Courses
Community colleges may offer a relatively fast way to complete a degree or certificate, but students are often surprised that courses aren't a snap. Community college courses are challenging. Many associate's degree and certificate programs are geared to meet industry and technical standards, so you know they're going to be tough. Employers want to hire people who know their stuff, have critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and who can do the job.
Some occupations, especially in the health fields, require passing a certification or licensing examination before you can be employed. These tests are challenging. Your coursework will be designed to prepare you to pass them.
Jeffrey Wright, a full-time faculty member in the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, observes, "Part of our job is to prepare students to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airframe and Power Plant certificate examinations, as well as to fulfill the requirements for an Associate of Applied Science degree. The FAA mandates 1,900 hours of attendance to get this license. Students have to pass a total of nine tests"written, oral, and practical"for the license. You need 168 credit hours to get the degree; it's almost like getting a bachelor's degree. The program and curriculum are challenging, but we're preparing students to work on airplanes and engines worth millions of dollars. They have to know what they're doing."
Not all programs are as intensive as this one, but you'll find that whatever you are studying, community college courses will be both challenging and worthwhile.
What Will Be Different from High School?
Whether it's been a while since you've been in school or you're coming to community college directly from high school, you'll find there may be some aspects of community college that you didn't expect and that take some adjustment.
Touré Muid, who is studying hotel and restaurant management at Bergen Community College (New Jersey), has these observations: "The level of coursework is completely different than in high school. You're expected to do much more. You're much more responsible for your own learning. In high school, teachers tend to walk you through everything to make sure you understand the material and assignments. In college, there's lots and lots of writing and that can be a shock."
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