Community College is worth consideration

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, April 13, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Another school year is winding down and the return of hot weather has thoughts turning toward summer.

For Chilton County high school students, this puts them closer to graduation and life after high school. Many already know what they want to do, whether going straight into a career or attending college.

Recently Chilton County Schools partnered with Potential Magazine to host Countdown to College. This workshop gives students and parents tips and advice for the admission and scholarship process.

One of the best pieces of advice I received from my father as a high school student was to attend community college and transfer to a four-year school. As a 17-year-old graduate, staying at home for two more years sounded like a good idea. Tuition was also less.

Chilton County students have this option at the Jefferson State Community College Chilton- Clanton Campus. Since the institution is open enrollment, any high school graduates can attend the college. Scholarships are available through the institution.

Attending community college first makes any necessary remedial courses less. If a student has to take remedial courses and want to graduate on time, my advice is more than 12 credit hours to start, if at all possible, in order to graduate on time since remedial classes do not count for credit.

Attending community college and then transferring can help a student focus on academics, usually with a smaller class size than four-year schools, before having to navigate being away from home for the time living on campus. Those considering this option should speak to an academic advisor at both schools, especially if they plan to transfer to a private four-year school, to make sure they understand how credits will transfer.

During the Countdown to College, panelists from state colleges and universities outlined the admission and scholarship requirements for their collage. Scholarships were based on GPA and ACT scores.

Doing well on the ACT was emphasized as a key to getting institutional scholarships for college.

Many universities also have transfer scholarships available to students who complete two years at a community college. Many of these are based on merit. Students who join Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, can usually apply for institutional scholarships only available to Phi Theta Kappa members.

Many students can also qualify for the American Opportunity Credit when they file their taxes. (For more information, see