Over the past two years, I have learned how to be a successful college student and get the most out of my experience and time at The Mount. After high school, I felt an enormous amount pressure to go straight to a four year college. I wanted to continue my education, but I also wanted to travel, work, and better understand what I wanted to pursue as a career. Ultimately I had to be honest with myself and do what I felt was best for me, which was taking a gap year before continuing on to The Mount. These are my tips for how to be successful and make the most of your time at community college.
Don’t Overlook Community College
I discovered Mount Wachusett Community College in March of 2017. Its wide array of programs and degrees, many of which weren’t offered at community colleges closer to my home town of Brattleboro, Vermont, made it the best choice for me academically.
One of my favorite qualities about community college is that it can be customized to the individual student’s need. Staff and faculty have the goal of
creating a personalized college experience that coincides with your everyday life. This is great because many students have family obligations, jobs, and other commitments. That said, if you want a more traditional experience, like I did, you can easily make that happen by taking more classes and getting involved with student life and clubs on campus.
Many students start at community college with the goal of transferring to a four-year school. If students are looking to transfer to a state school, MWCC has many articulation agreements that make transferring really easy. The Mount has many of these agreements with other private colleges in the area as well.
Community College students shouldn’t think that more selective or private schools are off the table, though. Selective schools will be more difficult to get into, so maintaining a higher GPA and demonstrating school involvement need to be a priority, but it’s very possible to get into elite schools if you communicate this as a goal with advisors, and put in the work to get accepted.
You Are Your Biggest Advocate
Something I quickly learned and a good piece of advice to students is learn to be proactive about academics and advocate for yourself. If you don’t understand a grade, form, or your schedule ask advisors or your professor about it. Professors and faculty want you to do well, but ultimately your success falls on you. Putting in some extra time and effort shows that you are paying attention and that you are invested in your education.
An example would be when registering for classes, go into advising with an idea about what classes you want to take and or what your time constraints are. This allows advisors to build you the perfect schedule. If you want to graduate in two years communicate that goal so they can help you achieve it.
Here are some examples of questions to ask advisors
- I want to graduate in two years. Can we create an academic plan that makes that a
- I want to transfer after earning my associates degree. Can you give more information on how to do this?
- How many and which courses should I take next semester based on my work
Create Goals and Stick with Them
I would also recommend that you go into each year and semester with goals. These can be anything from making dean’s list, to taking more classes so you can graduate in three years.
Personally, I came to the Mount with three goals; keep my GPA at a high average, graduate in two years with my Associates Degree, and transfer to a four-year school to get a Bachelor’s Degree. Having these goals in place helped me stay focused and prioritize my responsibilities.
Knowing what I needed to get out of my experience helped me correctly schedule my time and get involved with the correct clubs and societies, such as the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society . Because I wanted to complete my degree program in two years I knew I would have to take four to five classes each semester, while also taking a few summer classes. Though this made for more rigorous semesters, knowing this early on helped me plan and schedule my time accordingly.
My decision to go to community college and have a more “non traditional” college experience has allowed me to explore different areas of study in an affordable and supportive environment. It’s also opened my eyes to the challenges many face when pursuing higher education. Learning and collaborating with a diverse student body has been an invaluable experience and lesson in itself. These are a few of my favorite things about MWCC, and why I would wholeheartedly recommend it to prospective students who don’t feel four-year college is the right route for them.
About the Author:
Aisha Schor is a Media Communications major at MWCC. She is a contributing writer for the News Center.