Located in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Bucks County Community College (commonly known as Bucks) is a two-year community college with three different campuses throughout the area. The school offers non-credit courses, certificate programs and associate’s degrees as well as numerous continuing education courses. Students may pursue an education via traditional classroom instruction, online, or by taking a hybrid of the two. Bucks offers nearly eighty majors as well as hundreds of courses, and many students begin their academic careers at the college in order to transfer into a four-year institution where they may complete a baccalaureate program.
The athletics program offers intercollegiate sports and there are numerous student organizations and clubs to make social life interesting and fulfilling for students. There are also several community activities such as youth summer camps offered by the college.
The college strives to meet the needs of a diverse community and offers a variety of certificate programs, degree programs, transfer degrees, and courses for people who just want to learn a new skill or improve their employment skills. Following is a description of some of the options that the school offers.
Occupational majors are the first type of associate’s degree offered at this school. They consist of programs that are designed to prepare students for employment in entry-level jobs that require both an education and practical experience. The programs take at least four semesters of study and combine general education courses with degree-specific classes. Some of these programs include medical assisting, network technology, nursing, chef apprenticing and graphic design.
Even though students that receive these degrees are ready to enter the workforce, many people obtain these degrees in order to gain a better paying or more enjoyable job while they pursue a bachelor’s degree. Many of the credits obtained in occupational majors transfer to four-year colleges. There are also occupational certificates available that take approximately two semesters to complete.
Transfer majors are the second type of associate’s degree offered and are designed for students who want to complete the first two years of their bachelor’s degree at a much lower cost than a four-year college while remaining close to home. These programs often consist of taking general education courses or electives that would usually be completed in the freshman and sophomore years of a baccalaureate program, but students may also take courses that are specific to their degree. Students should confer with the college that they want to transfer to in order to be sure that all credits will transfer. Many colleges have an agreement with the school, and students may discuss this with their academic advisor.
Certificate programs are another educational option for students. These are generally completed in one or two semesters and focus on developing occupational skills. These credits may be applied toward an associate’s degree or may just serve to gain a better knowledge of one’s job or meet required continuing education requirements that some state or federal licensing agents require in order for the employee to maintain certification.
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There is an open enrollment policy, which means that everybody that meets minimum enrollment requirements is accepted. Students should begin by completing the online application. Once the application is complete, students will receive a student ID number and an online username so that they may continue the registration process.
Students will then need to take placement tests to determine writing, math and reading skills before being permitted to register for classes. International students and students for whom English is not a native language may be required to take English as a Second Language tests as well. Students entering certain programs will also need to take a chemistry test. Some students may be able to receive a testing waiver based on previous coursework or testing.
Next, students have to sign up for an advising group session so that advisors can assist with class choices, registration and approve the student’s registration. The student will require a username for this process. Orientation will be scheduled so that students may meet with student leaders and staff in order to gain the information necessary to begin their college education. The college offers snacks, a T-shirt, and a student planner to all who attend.
All students registering for credit courses are required to take the College Orientation Seminar during the first semester. Students will receive one credit for this course and will learn skills such as time management, effective study skills, decision making and goal setting. This will be discussed in detail during the advising and registration meeting.
Finally, students will need to pay the complete balance due or make arrangements for a financial aid deferment or payment plan prior to starting classes. Failure to do so may result in the registered schedule being voided and the student will have to re-register. Should this happen, the classes that were originally registered for may not be available.
Financial aid is offered in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and payment plans. The first step to applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that is available online beginning in January. Financial information for both the student and the family is required so the applicant should have this available prior to completing the application.
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The athletics department participates in both the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (EPCC) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) as a division III department. The requirements for playing any sports include registering for a minimum of twelve hours each semester, must maintain a minimum GPA and all students are required to undergo a physical that the school pays for. Sports available include men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, coed golf, coed tennis and both hunt seat and western equestrian riding. Men may also play baseball while women may play volleyball.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.