A Parent's Guide to DCC


Your child is considering attending one of the best community colleges in the state, and we are sure you must be very proud.

Attending DCC makes sense for all types of students and their families. We're close to home, have the lowest tuition of any college or university in the state, and we offer over 60 degree and certificate programs.

The college admission process can be confusing, especially for parents who were not college goers themselves. That’s why we put together this page of questions and answers. We have tried to anticipate some of your questions to make the process as uncomplicated as possible for you.

How to Help Your Son or Daughter Register for College Classes

Selecting first semester courses is one of the many decisions that your college bound son or daughter will make.

What is a credit?

One credit hour is approximately equal to one hour of class attendance. Most courses are 3-4 credits each. A student is considered to be full-time if he or she takes at least 12 credits each semester. A student is considered to be part-time if he or she takes fewer than 12 credits.

We often recommend a student take a maximum of 12-15 credits during their first semester at DCC.

The academic year is divided into two semesters; each semester is 15 weeks. The fall semester runs from the end of August until the middle of December. The spring semester runs from the middle of January until the beginning of May.

What is a major course of study or curriculum?

A college major or curriculum consists of courses leading to a degree (example: BAT= Business Administration Transfer) Please keep in mind that it is very common for a student to be confused or undecided about his/her major. One of the purposes of a college education is for students to explore different career paths.

If you child is undecided about a major course of study, here are some helpful steps they should take:

Talk to their advisor

  • Meet with a DCC Career Counselor 
  • Register for CLP 101 (“Career Exploration and Planning”— a 3 credit elective)

My child placed for a “credit-equivalent” class. What does this mean?

DCC is an open admissions college, in that we accept everyone with a high school diploma or GED, and not all high school graduates are equally prepared for college-level work.

Since we want all of our students to succeed, we have instituted a series of “credit-equivalent” courses, which are designed to teach students what they didn’t learn in high school, and to prepare them for their college courses.

Because these “credit-equivalent” courses are “catch up” courses, they do not offer any credits towards degree completion. When your child meets with his or her advisor, the advisor will use both the ASSET/ COMPASS scores, (tests taken to determine academic level) and the high school transcript to help your him/her select the proper courses. Generally, a course that begins with “0” is a “credit equivalent” class (example: ENG 092; MAT 091).

Is my child required to take these credit-equivalent courses?

If your child placed for ENG 091 or 092, he or she is required to take this “catch up” class. If they received a mid-level score that places them in the “appeal” range, they may make arrangements to take the “Writing Appeal” test. The results of the Writing Appeal are binding. While the advisor uses ASSET/COMPASS placement tests as a guide for placement in math courses, the math courses that your child took in high school and the grades they received, are the most important factor in placement in college level math courses.

What is the difference between an A.A., A.S., A.A.S., or a Certficate?

Generally, the A.A. (Associate in Arts) and the A.S. (Associate in Science) are designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college.

The A.A.S. (Associate in Applied Science) is designed to prepare students for immediate employment after graduation. Please keep in mind that some students do go right into the workforce with an A.A. or A.S. degree, and some students successfully transfer with an A.A.S. degree.

The Certificate program prepares students for employment after one year, rather than the 2+ years it takes to earn an A.A.S. degree.

Does my child have to finish the degree in one or two years?

NO! The majority of our students do not complete their degree requirements in one or two years, because most of our students (52%) need at least one credit-equivalent or prerequisite class, and/or they work more than 20 hours a week.

An Associate degree or Certificate program is designed for completion after one or two years IF a student can begin the first semester without requiring any credit equivalent courses; and if college is the student’s first priority. A student considers college his/her first priority if it comes before a job, with he or she limiting the number of hours worked.

We especially stress light course loads for the first semester when the student is getting used to the whole college scene, particularly if we learn that the student plans to work more than 20 hours a week.

Remember, being a college student is a full-time job!

Even though taking 12 credits means that a student will only be in the classroom for approximately 12 hours a week, colleges require students to do significant work outside of class.

The rule of thumb is that for every credit a student takes, he or she will be required to do 1–2 hours a week of work outside of class. This means that a student taking 15 credits can count on averaging between 15–30 hours a week of reading, writing, researching, etc., outside of the classroom!

As a parent, what can I do to help my child be successful at DCC?

One of the biggest differences between high school and college, and perhaps the biggest adjustment your child will make is the leap from dependence on you to thinking and acting independently.

Each college faculty member has his/her own policy governing attendance, punctuality, exams, handing in work on time, etc. The student has sole responsibility for meeting these requirements.

There are no bells, no attendance officers, and often no acceptance of late papers or “make-up” exams. No one will call you if your child stops attending classes, is not submitting required work, or is failing tests. The student is responsible for his/her college education. As a college student, your child will be required to make decisions, take responsibility, and be accountable for his/her actions. For many students this is a new experience.

As a parent, you can help with this adjustment by listening and encouraging your child to make his/her own decisions. Registration for classes is the first of a long series of decisions and independent actions which college requires of new students.

Encourage your child to make his/her own decisions about how many and which classes to take, as well as the days and times which these classes meet. Each new student meets with an academic advisor who has been trained to register new students.

The advisor will work with your child to help them plan a schedule that is right for them!

You have done your job well as a parent! If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact the DCC Admissions Office at (845) 431-8010, email