It should be easy to get the classes you need, but it isn’t. Community colleges are over-enrolled and under-funded, and that means there is competition for classes. By being prepared to enroll, working your way off the waitlist, and taking classes at multiple colleges, you can get the courses you need.
Have a Plan and Be Ready
The first thing to do to enroll in the classes you need, is be ready as soon as enrollment opens. Often enrollment opens in phases, with priority being given to some groups*. Know when your enrollment time opens. Before then, look at the classes being offered and choose the ones that will meet your requirements. Have your first choices, and also have backups in case those fill up before you get in.
Have all your paperwork in order. Different colleges require different things before enrollment. Find out what those are at your college so that they won’t slow you down when you need to get into classes. For more information on what to do before you enroll, read XXXXXX
At most colleges you can enroll online or in person. Choose whichever will be the fastest for you.
If you are on the waitlist, first you need to be realistic about your chances of getting into the class. My rule of thumb is that one in ten students will drop (eg. in a class of 50, five will drop, so if you’re number five or less on the waitlist you have a good chance of getting in), but it can vary.
Even though you are not enrolled, go to class. Talk to the professor as soon as you can and make your case. To improve your odds of getting in, you can show them a sample of your work or offer to do additional work to earn your spot. Be a student that the professor wants to teach.
My statistics professor once told my class a story about, while he was a student, being bribed to drop a class so that another student could take his place. I’ve never tried this (and don’t go threaten anyone!) but maybe if you are in your last semester or two, someone who has just enrolled and has plenty of time might be willing to give you their spot – maybe. Just be prepared when enrollment opens, and it won’t come to that.
If your college doesn’t offer the classes you need, or if you can’t get into them, you can take classes at other community colleges. If another community college is near to you, you can enroll in in-person classes. If not, you can take online classes. Collectively, California community colleges offer hundreds of courses online. My rural college didn’t have many of the specific courses I needed for my English major, but Allan Hancock College, at the other end of the state, did. I took classes at six different colleges to fulfill the prereqs for the UCLA English major.
To do this, you can use ASSIST to find colleges that offer the courses you need, and then you can look to see if the classes are available online. It involves figuring out and navigating multiple college systems and sending lots of transcripts, but it can be done. The website Apply can help you apply to multiple colleges.
*Which groups are given priority varies from college to college, but priority enrollment is commonly available to veterans, honors students, disadvantaged students, students in their final semester/quarter, etc. You can learn more by asking your college’s student services department.
This article was created for you by Kate.