What do I need to do if I'm a new student?
As a new student, you have a number of steps that you will need to take. Please refer to our New Students page for detailed information, but in general, you will need to fill out an admission application, take an assessment test for Math and English course placement, apply for financial aid, attend an orientation and advisement session, and register for classes.
What is orientation and why should I go?
Orientation is a process in which you learn about Columbia College, its programs and services, and how to effectively enroll in coursework at Columbia according to your educational goal. Refer to our Orientation page for more information about upcoming sessions as well as an on-line option.
Do I have to take the assessment test?
Columbia College requires an academic assessment of all students wanting to take English and/or Math courses, and/or those with English or Math prerequisites. The assessment test is not a pass or fail test, but a way for you to know what course placement is right for you. Visit the assessment page for more information on the testing schedule. You can find information about the test itself, as well as practice tests at www.accuplacer.com.
You may also submit official transcripts showing that you've completed the courses and/or prerequisites at another accredited college or university, or from the College Board for students with AP test scores (of 3 or higher).
What are the differences between a new, continuing and returning student?
A new student has never attended Columbia College before. For students who have taken classes at Columbia College during high school, you must re-apply once graduated and you will be considered a new student. A continuing student has attended the previous semester and is continuing into the new semester. A returning student is one who attended Columbia in the past and is returning to Columbia. Returning students may need to update their admissions application.
What is full time versus part time enrollment?
You must enroll in 12 units to be considered a full time student. A student during the Fall/Spring semester can register for up to 18 units. 9-11 units is considered ¾ time, 6-8 units is ½ time and 5 or less units is part-time.
How many units should I enroll in?
It depends on your unique situation. Students who are employed full-time (40 or more hours per week) should limit themselves to no more than 6 units. If you are employed no more than 20 hours per week, you may sign up for 12 or more units provided that you don't have additional time commitments (e.g. child, spouse, outside activities). If you are not employed, fulltime coursework (12-18 units) may be appropriate. However, if you have never attended college or are a returning student, then it may be wise to ease your way into the school routine by taking a reduced load for your first semester.
Should I take all general education classes first?
If your English assessment level is English 151 or below, we recommend that you concentrate on improving your college-level reading and writing skills. Taking an English course your first semester is a good idea no matter where you assessed. If you placed at English 1A or above, you should consider taking general education courses that interest you and/or courses that are related to your major. Also, if you are a math or science major, it is essential that you begin the math sequence as soon as possible (a counselor can help you choose your appropriate course selection for your major). Taking an elective course that you enjoy (guitar, art, physical activity, or computers) is a good idea because it makes your college experience more rewarding. Counselors can help you determine your best course progression and choices depending on your own educational goal.