By Dr. Gina La Monica
The summer is an ideal time to take advantage of the array of courses offered at the community college. Oftentimes, high school students can earn both college and high school credits after successfully completing these classes. Additionally, many community colleges now have online options for classes in almost every discipline since the onset of COVID.
The first step is to inquire at your local high school regarding taking a community college course. Thereafter, there is a mandatory dual enrollment form that must be signed by an administrator or counselor before you will be allowed to enroll. Private schools will often approve the college course but will not permit the class to be used for high school graduation requirements nor integrate the class grade in the final high school transcripts. On the other hand, public high schools will include the college courses on the high school transcripts giving students dual credit and a weighted grade for each class increasing a student’s potential grade point average beyond 4.0.
To find a community college course, you can view the list of colleges in California on the following website: https://www.cccco.edu/Students/Find-a-College/College-Alphabetical-Listing. A partial listing of courses can be found at the following website: https://cvc.edu/. If you cannot find your online course on this listing, you can just review the various community college online schedules separately to find the best course for you. Make sure the class has available seats. Classes close quickly so start early at least a term before you want to enroll. Once you find a community college course you are interested in, check out the professors on Rate Your Professor at the following website: https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ Make sure the teacher’s instruction fits with the type of class you are looking for. Not all ratings are accurate on this page, but you will see trends and common comments about the instructors to assist you in assessing which teacher is best for you.
After identifying the college course, go to https://home.cccapply.org/ to apply to the college you would like to attend. Fill out an application and within 24 hours you will receive a personal email from the college with instructions on how to enroll in your course. Find the dual enrollment department on that campus to find the dual enrollment form. Complete the form and then forward it to your counselor for approval. Upon completion with all signatures, submit this form to the dual enrollment office and/or admissions. If you would like to take a math or English course, you might need to submit your transcripts to demonstrate prerequisite knowledge for these courses. Every college has its own prerequisite processes so be sure to check with the dual enrollment office and/or admissions on the prerequisite competency process.
Check your emails regularly including the college’s email; you will be required to create an email account with the college you plan to enroll in. Once the high school dual enrollment form has been submitted and you have been approved for the course, you will receive an enrollment date and time. Sign up promptly because, as mentioned above, classes fill up fast.
Summer is an excellent time to review your high school education plan ensuring you are taking the optimal courses for college admissions. Taking an array of courses including community college ones will increase your chances of being admitted to the college of your choice. Surprisingly, California community college courses are free to high school students so take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Dr. Gina La Monica has a Doctorate in Education and has worked as a high school counselor, college administrator, and professor at many universities and colleges including the University of California, Los Angeles, California Lutheran University, California State University, Northridge, San Diego State University, etc. She was a tenured professor and an expert in career technical education and adult learning. She currently teaches at a local college and helps students of all ages from kindergarten to the university level with career exploration, college admissions, learning assessment, tutoring, and education plans.