Going To Community College For 2 Years and Finishing Early Is RISKY!

by Chad Agrawal

Is It Possible to Finish Community College in Less Than Two Years?

Generally speaking, two years is considered the minimum amount of time in which the average student can reasonably be expected to complete the general education requirements found at the community college level.

Students looking to transfer to a baccalaureate program at a 4-year college or university will need 60 units of transferable credit in the form of approved general education coursework. This means that you must complete 15 units each semester in order to finish in two years. For most students this necessitates a class load of 4-5 classes per semester, depending on the number of units offered for each course (they tend to vary from 3-5 units). Some students may elect to pile on more classes one semester and then take it easy the next, but they must average 15 units if they want to finish in the 2-year time limit.

So is it possible to complete these requirements in less time? Absolutely. Is it going to be easy? Probably not. But here are a couple of ways to go about it.

Finishing Community College Faster

The obvious solution is simply to take more classes each semester. But is this really a feasible option for most students? Let's break it down. The average 3-unit class requires approximately 45 "contact" hours, which means the time you spend in class. Since most semesters are 15 weeks long, this means you will spend about three hours each week in class. However, it is estimated that every hour of class time equates to about three hours of homework each week. This means that for every 3-unit class you take each semester you can reasonably expect to devote 12 hours of your time to attending class and doing homework on a weekly basis. Now, if you take 15 units worth of classes you're looking at five 12-hour days of classes and homework each week. That's more than a full-time job. Do you still want to take more classes?

If we're being honest, the chances that you will actually be given three hours' worth of homework for every hour spent in class are pretty slim. But this is what you have to expect. For some students, adding one or two more classes is doable. For those that hold a part-time job it probably isn't possible. But adding 3-6 credits each semester to a workload could allow you to finish in a year and a half. And if you throw in a full slate of summer school classes you could potentially complete all 60 credits of general education coursework in just a year. However, that is a fairly ambitious undertaking, and one that not all students can handle. You really have to be dedicated to the idea of early completion as well as totally willing to apply yourself to your studies at the expense of all else if you want to pull it off.

It's Risky...Why Rush?

The payoff is that you will zip through community college and be off to the next institution of higher learning in record time. The downside is that you won't have a social life to speak of (or nearly enough sleep) for a year. And you might need some help with medication therapy management to keep you from becoming depressed or burned out. In most cases, community college counselors and professors will encourage you not to adopt this strategy. But if you think you're prepared for this rigorous schedule it could help you to spend less time in college overall. And many students find that prospect very appealing.

If you're not interested in getting your associates degree, and strictly want to transfer to university after 1 year, read the following post first: Attend Community College For 1 or 2 Years? See Here...

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Stienheart October 21, 2012 at 1:40 am

You can definitely see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.


Chad Agrawal October 24, 2012 at 12:20 am

Thank you Lisa


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