Columbia College Logo
Need Help? Just Ask Columbia
cccounseling logo

Welcome to Columbia College!

As a new student, you have a number of steps that you will need to take.  Find the Admissions Checklist here. If you are transitioning to us from high school, find a few more success tips here.

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 according to your educational goal. Refer to our Orientation  page for upcoming sessions as well as an on-line option. We also offer Guidance courses that will 'count' for orientation requirement (see course schedule--look for Guide 18, 100, 107 and 108).

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 pass or fail, rather what course placement is right for you. Visit the assessment page for the testing schedule. You can find information about the test itself, as well as practice tests at www.accuplacer.com.

We can use recent high school transcripts for math placement (if you have completed a course successfully within the last 3 years, counselor signature required). 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, full-time 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 (GE) classes first?

Taking an English course your first semester is a good idea no matter where you assessed. If you placed through assessment at English 1A level, you should consider taking general education courses that interest you and/or courses that are related to your major. If your English assessment level is English 151 or below, we recommend that you concentrate on improving your college-level reading and writing skills.

Also, if you are a math or science major, it is essential that you begin math as soon as possible (a counselor can help you choose the appropriate math sequence for your major).

If you are not sure of your major yet, taking GE courses can be a good way to learn about the variety of fields available, as well as move forward in your educational journey. Please meet with a counselor to determine courses that might help you explore areas of interest and 'count' for GE at the same time.

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.