News From The College Place!

Below you’ll find our schedule of college prep events for this week! Feel free to attend as many as you like and forward this information along to others who may find the information beneficial!

Tuesday, August 4 at 3:30pm                                  Rising Senior Action Plan
Join The College Place-Alexandria for a workshop on understanding the essential steps rising seniors should be taking now to prepare for the college application process! Learn about college costs, college application requirements, what to look for in a college, and how to find the best college fit for you!
Register in advance for this workshop:
https://ecmc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIkdOugrzkpGdS2kA3ZiwaZR6L9FGAgqHlC

Wednesday, August 5 at 3:30pm                           Virtual College Tour Series #7
Join The College Place for the Virtual College Tour Series #7! This week, the tour series will feature the following schools:
Santa Clara University
University of Northern Colorado
Howard University
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://ecmc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIqd-ChrDwsHtHHgiVGkys7fOkdRB-0wp2E

Thursday, August 6 at 12:00pm                              College Prep Q&A
Join The College Place-Alexandria as we answers frequently asked questions about preparing for college! Bring questions related to any part of the college prep process: career exploration, college applications, essays, recommendations, college entrance exams (SAT and ACT), resume/activities lists, financial aid, FAFSA, etc!
Register in advance for this session:
https://ecmc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYvcemurjIjHtd7vgXQRf6_a34a2bt0aFkS

We look forward to seeing you this week at our workshops!

Community Colleges Are Great Options!!

Why Community College Is a Better Option Than You Think

Avoiding paying room and board for college (if you live at home instead of renting an apartment since there usually aren’t dorms at community colleges) is another cost-saving measure.

In 2017-18, the average tuition and fees for a full-time student at public two-year institutions nationally was $3,570, compared with $9,970 (in-state) at public four-year colleges and $34,740 at private universities, according to the College Board. After federal financial aid, 71 percent of community college students pay less than $1,000. Some states are beginning to make community college free through specific scholarship programs: New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and most recently, Rhode Island.

You could be one of millions of students attending college practically for free, if you consider attending a community college.

A Good Option for Exploring Different Majors or Choosing a Career Off the Bat

Community college can be an especially good fit if you don’t know what career you want to pursue. At a community college, you can take a variety of courses at a low cost in different academic disciplines to help you figure out what you want to ultimately major in, if you plan to transfer.

What community colleges are known for is offering programs that are connected to the needs of the local economy. Associate degrees can be earned to enter the workforce right away after two years of study. Popular degrees like dental hygiene ($72,910 average salary), diagnostic medical sonography ($68,970 average salary), nursing (to become a registered nurse at an average starting salary of $66,640) are all available. If you want to start a career sooner than the average college graduate, a community college may be a good fit.

Guaranteed Admission and Seamless Transfer to Four-Year Colleges

Don’t like taking tests? Community colleges don’t require entrance exams like the SAT. Nearly anyone can take a class at a community college simply by registering for class.

If you know you may want to transfer to a state university, you can take many of the four-year required courses at a community college cheaper than at a state university. Most community colleges have agreements with state universities to help make a transfer seamless and not lose college credits in the process.

A great advantage of attending some community colleges is guaranteed transfer to a state university when certain requirements are met (usually a GPA requirement). States like Arizona, California, Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Virginia have agreements in which community college students are guaranteed admission to state universities, if they meet the requirements.

For example, Northern Virginia Community College has a guaranteed admission agreement to 40 universities, if a certain GPA and other requirements are met. To show how this is advantageous, here is a scenario: say you want to attend the University of Virginia(UVA), one of the top public universities in the country. If you attended a community college for the first two years and earned a certain GPA, you would be automatically guaranteed admission to UVA, but you would pay $5,497 per year for the first two years of college instead of $30,490 per year for the same first two years. You’ve just saved nearly $50,000 ($49,986 to be exact)!

And you might not even have to leave your community college campus to transfer to another institution to earn your bachelor’s degree. FSU@Mass Bay — a partnership between Framingham State University (FSU) and Massachusetts Bay Community College, both in the Boston area — enables students to stay at the community college to finish a bachelor’s degree with FSU professors who come to the Mass Bay campus. In Texas, the Lone Star College System has agreements with several universities that offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs on two of their community college campuses designated as Learning Centers — so you could “transfer” and stay in the local area or even the same campus to earn a bachelor’s degree. Innovative programs like these are popping up, so pay attention to the local degree programs in your area.

You can also potentially transfer to a private college or university — even an Ivy League institution like Yale or Harvard — after attending a community college. Did you know that Eileen Collins, the first woman astronaut to command a space shuttle mission, attended a community college? The sky is the limit!

A Solid Education — and Often Flexible Scheduling

Community college courses are taught by professors who have the same educational background as professors who teach at four-year colleges and universities. In fact, at many universities, students are taught by teaching assistants who are graduate students rather than professors with graduate degrees. The rigor in a community college class is oftentimes the same as another nearby institution. What is attractive to many students is that many community colleges have classes at more flexible times than a typical college. In addition to daytime classes, community colleges usually offer many evening classes as well as classes on weekends and online and sometimes hybrid classes in which you take part of the course in a classroom and part of the course online.

Services Comparable to a Typical College

Just like a four-year college, community college has services to help students succeed, including career services, academic assistance like tutoring and writing centers, clubs, honors program, specialized internships with local employers, and even study abroad.

Student life on a community college can be bustling despite not living on campus like at a four-year college. For instance, in South Florida, Miami Dade College, the country’s largest community college, manages the Miami International Film Festival. And in California, RCC Marching Tigers or “Hollywood’s Band” is the marching band of Riverside City College that has appeared in parades such as the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as in movies and on television.

Get a Jump Start on College in High School with Dual Enrollment

Did you know that you can earn college credits while you are still in high school? Nationwide 15% of all community college students are still in high school, according to a recent report.

Dual enrollment, or taking college classes while still in high school, can save you money if credits are transferred when you enroll in college. It can also allow you to decide whether or not you would like to attend a community college or apply to four-year colleges. Whatever you decide, consider your local college options—including community colleges—in your college search. You may find the right place for you and pay a lot less!

Find a community college in your state.

Community College Schoalrships

VFCCE Scholarships & Funds

Virginia Foundation for Community College Education Scholarships

The mission of the VFCCE is to provide access to education for all Virginians. Through the statewide scholarship program, students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships ranging from $1000 to $10,000. The VFCCE recognizes outstanding students of all ages and backgrounds. Statewide scholarship programs are outlined below. Additional scholarship opportunities are offered directly through Virginia’s 23 community colleges.


Visit our scholarship portal

More than 65 students were awarded scholarships this past year.  To be eligible for a VFCCE scholarship, a student must be a Virginia resident who is enrolled or plans to enroll at one of Virginia’s 23 community colleges.  Scholarship applications for the 2016 – 2017 academic year are due May 16, 2016.  Please visit the scholarship portal for more details on each scholarship and to apply.


Current Scholarships

Click here to see our scholarship recipients for 2015-2016

Potomac Health Foundation Fellows Program

The Potomac Health Foundation Fellows Program provides up to $8,000 in financial assistance and a unique leadership curriculum to second-year students who  demonstrate a preference to pursue a career in a health care field/setting that involves direct patient care or a career that supports healthy communities such as health care administration or medical research. Applicants must attend Germanna or Northern Virginia Community College full-time and reside in the following zip codes: 20112, 22025, 22026, 22079, 22125, 22134, 22172, 22191, 22192, 22193, 22554, and 22556.

Valley Proteins Fellows Program

For the fifth year, extraordinary second-year students attending a Virginia Community College will be selected for the Valley Proteins Fellows Program. This prestigious scholarship will award up to $5,000 for tuition, books, fees and expenses. In addition to the generous award, the Fellows Program will provide recipients with the opportunity to share in special experiences to enhance their academic and leadership potential.

Laurens Sartoris Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

Funded through the support of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association in honor of Laurens “Larry” Sartoris, former president of VHHA and former chair of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. The scholarship provides financial assistance to admitted nursing students attending Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Gerald Baliles Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

Scholarships will be awarded to first-time college students at Patrick Henry Community College to recognize Governor Gerald Baliles’ many contributions to the improvement of education for all Virginians, through the Patrick Henry Educational Foundation. For additional information and to apply for this scholarship, visit the Patrick Henry website.  The deadline to apply for this scholarship is May 31, 2016.

Kathy Camper Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

One scholarship will be awarded to a first-time or second year student pursuing a career in information technology or childhood education.

John T. Casteen III Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

Two scholarships will be awarded to a full-time community college student attending any Virginia Community College who plans to transfer to the University of Virginia.

Eva T. Hardy Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

Three scholarships will be awarded to community college students who demonstrate potential for public service and civic leadership.

Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Scholarship

Established by the Central VA Chapter of IREM to assist students pursuing studies in real estate or property management, one scholarship will be awarded to students attending a college in Central Virginia: Blue Ridge, Central Virginia, Dabney S. Lancaster, Danville, Germanna, J. Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, New River, Patrick Henry, Paul D. Camp, Piedmont Virginia, Rappahannock, Southside Virginia, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western and Wytheville.

Michael A. Smith Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

Created with a generous leadership gift from Valley Proteins, Inc. along with numerous friends, family, business associates and students to honor Michael Smith, former chairman of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).  Three scholarships will be awarded to first-year community college students.

ACG Richmond Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship

One scholarship will be awarded to a student at John Tyler Community College who is pursuing a business degree.  For more information or to apply for this scholarship, please visit the John Tyler Community College website.  The deadline to apply for this scholarship is April 15, 2016.

The Eleanor Saslaw Commonwealth Legacy Scholarships

Through the generosity of Eleanor Saslaw, a scholarship will be awarded to a student attending Patrick Henry Community College. For more information or to apply for this scholarship, please visit the Patrick Henry Community College  website.  The deadline to apply for this scholarship is May 31, 2016


The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education is grateful to our friends and donors who are helping our students attend college and achieve their dreams. Thank you!

For more information, contact:

The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
300 Arboretum Place, Suite 200  (Note new address!)
Richmond, VA 23236

Dr. Jennifer Sager Gentry
Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement
jgentry@vccs.edu
804-819-4962

Anne McCaffrey
Director of Development and Scholarships
amccaffrey@vccs.edu
804-819-5396

Juniors 8 Ways to Prep for College Applications over Spring Break

Spring break can be a prime time to prep for a standout college application, and prevent stress closer to application deadlines. Use this much-needed vacation from school to consider what you really want out of college, and what you still need to do to get there.

prepping for college apps during spring break

Start Drafting Your College List

Do some soul searching over spring break to figure out what you want from your prospective colleges. Is your best fit college known for its chemistry department? Does it host a thriving theater scene? Talking to a college counselor about your dreams and goals can help you identify what’s important to you as you make your preliminary college list.

College Road Trip

A college website or brochure is no substitute for talking with actual students, visiting the science labs, sitting in on lectures, or grabbing lunch in the cafeteria. Make a plan to tour some of the schools that you are considering, and see if any of them could feel like home.

Make Time for Extracurriculars

Colleges want to know what you do with your spare time so that they can get a sense of who you are. This Spring Break try something new or investigate a career goal or study interest. Are you destined for a life in medicine? Shadow an RN for the week or volunteer for a local organization. Prove to colleges that your commitment to extracurricular activities isn’t tied to the school calendar.

Brainstorm for Your Application Essays

The 2016-17 Common App essay prompts are out. Plan topics for your personal statements by reflecting on the activities you care about. What are the aspects of your background, personality, and interests that make you unique? Who are the people who have influenced you? What experiences have challenged you?

Prep for the ACT or SAT

Whether you try some practice questions, review geometry concepts, or take a prep course, you’ll thank yourself later if you study now! Improving your score by a hundred points on the SAT or even one point on the ACT can significantly boost your chances of admission at many schools.

Look into Financial Aid

Cast a wide net in your search for grants and scholarships. Dedicate some time this break to researching scholarships, including application deadlines and eligibility requirements.

Pick Your Senior Year Classes

Yes, your classes and grades still matter your senior year. Choosing honors and AP classes when you can shows schools that you are serious about college-level work.  Plus, high scores on AP exams can help you graduate college early and save you money on tuition.

Make Summer Plans

Summer counts! Whether you take a job as a camp counselor, practice your Spanish in Guatemala, or prep for the ACT/SAT, your summer activities can strengthen your overall application.

Adapted from the Princeton Review

Free College Prep help

  • Gratitude Initiative’s Online College Success Academy for Military Students Students in 8th – 11th grade are eligible to apply for the program if they have a parent who meets one of the following criteria: Active duty member of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, Veteran honorably discharged from active duty on or after 9/11/200, Reserve or National Guard member who was activated for active duty service since 9/11/2001 and was deployed to a combat zone, A combat wounded or disabled veteran with a service connected injury that occurred on or after 9/11/2001, A service member killed on active duty. Students and families can learn more and apply online here. The number of students enrolled each year is limited based on available funding and the number of qualified applicants.

THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO CRUSH #COLLEGEAPPMONTH

When the President of the United States announces a National College Application Month, it’s time to step up and make things happen. Here’s a collection of tips, gathered by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, for high school students and community college students looking to transfer.

Starting Strategically in High School:

Understanding Your Needs:

Narrowing Your College List:

Attention-Grabbing Application Advice:

Funding College & Financial Aid Basics: