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Welcome to Columbia College!

We are excited for you to begin or continue your educational journey at Columbia College. There are quite a few things we ask you to complete as you get started here, all with your success in mind. If you have yet to apply, check out our Admissions website for all of that information.

Advisement, Placement & Orientation:

  • In order to ensure a successful transition into the college, we recommend you complete advising with a counselor, math and English placement and Orientation as soon as possible. Completing these three steps will also help you get priority registration for better access to the classes and schedule you want. Refer to our Advisement, Placement & Orientation website  page for more details.

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. You must reapply to the college to reactivate your account. 

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, more than that with counselor approval.
  • 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 you enroll in?

  • It depends on your unique situation!
  • 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.
  • If you are applying for Financial Aid, 12 units will be required for a full award, but it is prorated if you have less units.
  • Guidelines for study time: 2 hours of outside study/class time for every one unit.
    • Example: 3-unit class = 3 hours of class time, 6 hours of homework/study time = total of 9 hours a week for this 3 unit course. Be sure you can commit 9 hours of time a week to be successful in this course. Add a little bit for high demand courses like math or science. In this equation, full-time 12 units would be in hours 12+24 = 36 hours per week for school.
  • Guidelines if you work in addition to attending school:
    • If you are not employed, full-time coursework (12-18 units) may be appropriate.
    • Employed full-time (40 or more hours per week), 6 units or less
    • Employed no more than 20 hours per week, 12 or more units may be appropriate provided that you don't have additional time commitments (e.g. child, spouse, outside activities). 

Should you take all general education (GE) classes first?

  • Check out our programs of study to see the majors and interest areas we offer that you might be considering. For each Interest Area, we offer a 'Launchpad' or a group of classes designed for a first semester student checking out that area of interest.  
  • In general, we advise you to start with an introductory class in your major and general education courses to get to the unit load you want. 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. 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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