Is Taking a Fall Semester at a Community College Right for You?

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Fall semester is in sight, but the view is still a little hazy.

If it looks like you might be living in your room at home rather than in a dorm with your friends, you’re not alone. Many colleges are talking about offering online-only courses this fall.

As a rising freshman or sophomore, it may be hard for you to imagine spending $60,000 to take college classes in your living room next year. Unfortunately, even if your college starts the fall semester with in-person classes, there is no guarantee it will be able to remain open with the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life Happens, Keep Learning

OK, so life isn’t working out as planned. Let’s consider the alternative: postpone fall enrollment at your current college and take a semester online at your local community college instead.

The idea is to save yourself money and time on your degree by taking your required general education courses online at a community college like the Mount.

Your credits will most likely transfer*

Don’t worry, you can still graduate with your diploma from your 4-year college. It’s common for community colleges to have transfer agreements in place with virtually all of the other colleges and universities in their regions.

“Since students can transfer their credits back to most 4-year institutions, choosing community college is an attractive way to stay focused on earning a degree while staying safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcia Rosbury-Henne, Dean of Enrollment Management & Admissions at Mount Wachusett Community College. “We’ve heard from a lot of students who are transferring into community college from a traditional four-year college or university simply because they want to minimize their tuition costs in this economy.”

Your financial aid will go further

If you’re eligible to receive financial aid, community college is a great place to use it. Because the overall cost is lower, you’ll need fewer aid dollars at community college than you would at a traditional 4-year college. That means you’ll have less to pay back after you graduate with your degree.

Just keep in mind that financial aid only covers classes required for your degree. Before you enroll in a course, double-check to see whether it lines up with your major requirements.*

Community college has a lot to offer online

Mount Wachusett Community College has offered online classes for years and offers all the general education requirements you need. Lots of courses are already scheduled for Fall 2020, in disciplines like sociology, biology, history, calculus, English, and computer programming.

Did you know you’ll always be taught by a faculty member at a community college, not by a teaching assistant? With smaller class sizes, you’ll benefit from more personal attention.

In fact, community colleges pride themselves on putting students first – as you can see from this message recorded by the Mount’s faculty and staff.

It’s also a little known fact that community colleges bend over backwards to support students’ learning with free tutoring, strong online library resources, virtual student clubs and organizations, and even career counseling.

Choose a short fall term or the full semester (or both!)

Flexibility is built into the course schedule at a community college since most students are balancing college along with work, family, and a social life. For example, this fall Mount Wachusett Community College is offering three ways to take courses: Full semester, Cycle 1 (early fall term), or Cycle 2 (late fall term). These cycle terms last just seven weeks each, but offer full-credit courses, just like the full semester.

Fall Term Dates at MWCC:

  • Full Semester: September 9, 2020
  • Cycle I: September 9 – October 28, 2020
  • Cycle 2: November 2 – December 23, 2020

Next steps

If you’re interested in enrolling for classes – or just talking with an admissions counselor, check out the items below.

  • Apply: As an MWCC guest student
  • Browse our course offerings: View our available courses for fall
  • Transcripts: Submit your college and high school transcripts to our Admissions Office
  • Financial Aid: Make sure your FAFSA for 2020-2021 has been submitted. If you haven’t done your FAFSA for this year yet, get started today!
  • Contact us: Let us know you’re coming! Email


*Please note: Be sure to check with your university first before applying to the Mount to ensure your financial aid and program acceptance won’t be affected.

Let’s see if community college is a good fit for you this fall.

Even if you’re not planning to go to community college next semester, it’s worth checking into all your options. Take the short quiz below to find out if attending a community college is a good fit for you this fall.