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Community College 101: Part 2

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Narrator: Now that you have heard many reasons why community college is a great choice, Vanessa offers great advice about how to get started as a student. One of the first things you'll want to consider is how to pay for your education. Vanessa Reed: One of the best things that students can do is to find out what funding options are available at the community college. There could be a variety of different options from specialized programming, things like worker retraining, or things where if they were on Food Stamps, they may be eligible for a specialized program. There's also financial aid where they have opportunities, by filling out a form, they get the opportunity to get things like grants. They can get things like loans. They could possibly even get work study and work on campus. There are also a variety of scholarships that are usually offered through the community colleges. And these scholarships vary. They could be based on academics. It could be based on their passion to get into a particular program. So there's a variety of different scholarships even available at the community college. A nice thing that community colleges are starting to do as well is many have things like payment plans where they can gain access to paying for their college, but they can split up their payment into three, so they don't have to pay for everything all at once. So we try to make it convenient for students to find those kinds of resources. Narrator: You will also need to take a placement test. At South Seattle Community College this test is called COMPASS. Vanessa Reed: This is not a pass or fail test. It's the big thing to remember. It's a test that lets us know what classes you can start at once you begin here at the community college. And what I mean by that is a lot of times students will have to take additional classes so that they're prepared for college-level courses. Narrator: You've chosen your community college. You've secured your financial aid and taken your placement test. Once you've taken these steps, another important step for you to take is to meet someone who will play a major role in helping you navigate as you travel the path of college education. Vanessa Reed: So as a new student, it is going to be very important for the student to see an advisor. They will have already taken the Compass test, which is the placement test to get into the community college, or whatever community college test is required at that school, so you'll have your scores, but in order to have those scores interpreted so that you know what kind of classes you're going to take, you need to go see an advisor. So the advisor will basically get you started. They'll give you an idea of what kind of classes you're going to be taking throughout your time at the college. They'll make sure you're taking the correct classes, so that you're not paying for classes that you don't need. They're there to get you that good start, so that you know what to expect as you move forward. And as a returning student, it's going to be important to check in with your advisor as well because you're going to want to make sure that you're on the right track with your classes and that you know what classes are going to be the right ones in order to reach your degree. A nice thing about talking with your advisor consistently is you're going to get the opportunity to make sure that you're getting, that you're going in the best route that is going to be appropriate for you. Narrator: Advisors can help students make good choices from the many degree offerings available to them. Community colleges offer a true range of degrees and certificates. There are transfer degrees, which get you started toward a baccalaureate, or bachelor's degree. [ Man speaking about cars ] There are also professional and technical programs that award certificates and degrees for training in specific areas. And there are even some new opportunities you may not have heard about yet. Of course, depending on your future career goal, you may want to choose a transfer degree. Vanessa Reed: A transfer degree is usually a degree that a person who is thinking about going to a university would probably pursue. You would do your freshman and sophomore year at the community college, and you would fulfill all of the classes that would fit that degree. And then you would transfer to a university to finish your junior and senior year, and at that point you would finish with your Bachelor's Degree. Usually the Professional/Technical degrees are going to be very specific fields. So, for instance, a person interested in automotive, day one they are going to be studying the automotive field. Or, if somebody was thinking about doing nursing, nursing could be another field where day one that is what they are going to be studying. So, it's a very specific field. Usually it's shorter term training, so you could do anything from a couple months all the way up to a couple years, depending on what field it is that you want to go into. Narrator: And, as promised, now we'll cover some of the new opportunities. We'd like you to meet Malcolm Grothe, Executive Dean at South Seattle Community College and an expert in Baccalaureate programs in community colleges. Malcolm Grothe, PhD: South Seattle Community College has recently been accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges to offer baccalaureate level or four-year-level degrees. We're really excited about that. The whole school is accredited as a four-year institution, although we're still called a community college. That's kind of confusing to some folks, but we are accredited to offer baccalaureate level degrees that would then be transferable to many institutions if people are interested in Masters degrees. Narrator: In addition to Bachelor of Applied Science degrees, there are many other ways to get a four-year degree. Many community colleges also partner with four-year institutions to offer their baccalaureate degree on community college campuses. This helps students who can't move away to finish their four-year degree in their own backyard. South Seattle Community College has a number of these partnerships. Students can earn their two-year degree, then continue, on the same campus, to take upper division classes towards a four-year degree from partner universities. So now, finally, in closing, let's review a couple of the main points in our introduction about community colleges. There are many reasons to choose a community college, but one of the most significant advantages is cost savings. The typical community college tuition is much less than the cost of what you would pay at a public university, and it can be a fraction of the cost of what you'd pay at a private university. That's a huge cost saving with a result which is the same in the end: A degree! There are many other reasons to attend community college - The Open-Door policy, small class sizes, the diversity, and the many student resources available to help you not only succeed, but also have an enriching experience. There are transfer degrees such as an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science, which means two years spent at a community college and then on to finishing the degree at a four-year university. Professional and technical degrees such as the Associate of Applied Science or Certificates from professional and technical programs would allow completion in several quarters to two years, and then off to work. And there are, of course, as we mentioned, also Bachelor's degrees available, either from the community college or from the four-year university partners on campus. Remember what Vanessa has told us too: to get started at a community college, be sure to plan how you will pay for school, whether it is with financial aid, scholarships or even savings. And take the placement test and see an advisor to enroll for classes. Vanessa Reed: I think that's the beauty of college is you get to explore, you get to have all these different experiences, not only academically but personally and even in extracurricular activities that are going to shape who you're going to be in the future. It's just a very, very exciting time. If you're ready to go to school, the best thing that you can do is just figure out what your resources are, figure out your options, and just tap into your heart and figure out what it is that you could see yourself doing day to day and what would make you happy. And most of the teachers you're going to find are talking about something they're passionate about, especially the good teachers that you get in school are the ones who are passionate about what they are talking about, and it just shines through. So the more you can do to find your passion the better, and I think college is a beautiful way to do that.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 5 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Director: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Views: 36
Posted by: scctv on Nov 2, 2012

In this two-part video you'll learn what community college is, the degrees and certificates they offer, and reasons for attending the community college. Making Achievement Possible (MAP) Video Series: MAP is a college success video series designed to help students, potential students, and their families learn to navigate the college system and gain the skills necessary for academic success. MAP consists of sixteen short videos, each with curricular materials for instructional use. All videos were funded by a Department of Education/AANAPISI grant to South Seattle Community College. More information is available at

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