A New Year’s Q&A with Dr. Bullock
Welcome back to everyone, from what I hope was a delightful and refreshing holiday break. I am looking forward to seeing all of you around campus, ready to start a fresh new year to meet and exceed your academic goals. Many of you are returning from the fall semester, and some of you may be starting your very first college class. With that in mind, I am using this month's blog to answer some of the more common questions I hear from students who are new to the CCAC community.
- What is the Community College of Allegheny County?
CCAC is a two-year college offering nearly 160 degree, certificate, diploma and transfer programs to more than 25,000 students every year. Three out of four students selected CCAC over a four-year school to get a rigorous education at a significantly lower tuition rate. CCAC has four campuses and four centers located throughout the region and a robust virtual campus that offers a growing list of programs you can complete entirely online.
- Am I the right candidate to enroll at CCAC?
Absolutely. CCAC is an open-access institution which accepts applications year-round. If you graduated high school or have your GED you are invited and encouraged to apply for admissions. Students apply to CCAC for as many reasons as there are learners. Some get a two-year degree, certificate, or diploma, and some students transfer to a four-year college. Many take continuing professional education classes and CEUs, while others study industry-specific trades and workforce programs. A lot of people come back to college to pursue life-long learning goals and community education.
- Is it too late for me to register for Spring classes? How do I apply for admissions?
You can still apply for Spring classes. However, you are encouraged to enroll and register for classes immediately, so you have time to prepare before classes begin. You can apply in-person or online reasonably quickly, depending on the program you intend to pursue. Remember, although CCAC accepts students year-round, some programs have unique requirements and deadlines.
- What tests do I have to take before being matriculated into a program?
CCAC does not require entrance exams like the ACT or SAT. Still, applicants must take a placement test before registration. It is a comprehensive test that measures your aptitude proficiency in Basic English, Reading and Math. A higher score on the placement tests will allow you to register for college-level classes.
- Who is an academic advisor?
An advisor is a representative that assists you in identifying an academic area of focus and will outline the program and courses that you need to register for to earn your desired credential. Advisors also help you determine what credits you need to graduate and help with general registration and program-related questions.
- How do I pay for college?
All students need to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your FAFSA allows you to apply for financial aid (grants, work-study and loans) to pay for college or career school. Each CCAC location has a Financial Aid office with friendly staff who are happy to help you work through this process. FAFSA workshops happen throughout the year and online videos and information can be found on the website.
- How do you register for a class?
When you meet with an advisor, the advisor provides you the suggested courses that align with your program of study. Then you can search and register for classes online using CCAC's self-service class schedule. If you prefer to register in person or have questions or need assistance, visit a registration office at any campus or center.
- How do I buy books and school supplies?
After you register, take your registration or class schedule to the bookstore (at one of the four campuses and the West Hills Center) where you can buy our books and supplies and CCAC related merchandise. The CCAC bookstores provide ways to save money by selling used books, offering price match, rent-a-text and buyback programs as well as offering some digital versions of textbooks as lower prices.
- When does the Spring semester start?
Spring semester begins Monday, January 13, for 16-week courses and Monday, January 27, for 14-week courses. It is important to register early to give yourself time to prepare. You'll need time to buy books and supplies, to locate your rooms, to plan your new schedule, to locate services and sign up for extracurricular activities.
- What if I need help or services to enhance my education?
Take advantage of free tutoring via the Learning Commons, Math Cafes and online tutoring. The libraries deliver much more than books, course guides and research aids and the open computer labs provide internet, printing and specialty software access. ITS ServiceDesk is on-call for tech support beyond normal business hours and personal, academic, transfer and career counseling is available to all. Student Success Coaches and Student Support Specialists for certain student groups and Supportive Services can help with accessibility accommodations. CCAC’s Military and Veterans office provides guidance on benefits and the transition from military service to college life.
- How can I learn more about CCAC?
Discover the countless ways you can round out your academics with engaging Student Life activities at CCAC on the website, the student portal and the online catalog. If you prefer to explore on foot, visit the Student Life office on campus to get involved in sports, clubs, newspapers, student government and civic engagement. CCAC locations each have a central area or front desk to help if you need to find rooms, services, offices and general information.
Welcome aboard! I hope you will accept my invitation to be a part of the CCAC community, and I look forward to seeing you on campus and at the centers.