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Welcome to Columbia College!

As a new student, you have a number of steps you must complete to qualify for Priority Enrollment. For a comprehensive list, please refer to the Admissions Checklist. If you are transitioning to us from high school, find a few more success tips.

What is orientation and why is it required?

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 8, 18, or 100).

Do I have to take the assessment test?

In order to be eligible for your highest possible priority registration level, Columbia College requires an academic assessment of all new students. High school students wanting to take English and/or Math courses, and/or those with English or Math prerequisites may also need to take the ACCUPLACER test. The test helps determine what course placement is right for you. Visit the assessment page for the testing schedule. 

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 upon graduation to 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 after a break of one year or more. 

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.

Note to students seeking to complete the requirements for an Associate's Degree within 2 years: Although 12 units is considered "full time", students must enroll in, and complete, an average of at least 15 units in the Fall and Spring terms each year, or enroll in additional courses in the summer, in order to complete the minimum units required to earn an Associates Degree (60 units) within 2 years of initial enrollment.

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.

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