Ask an Advisor: Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are some of the more common questions that students ask the online advisor. They are grouped into ten categories. If you don’t find the answer to your particular question, then feel free to contact the online advisor.

Getting Started

Do I need to see an academic advisor?
Meeting with an advisor can be helpful to you throughout your time at CCBC. As a new CCBC student, you will be required to meet with an advisor after you have completed your placement tests to discuss your results and to plan a course of study. After registering and beginning your coursework, you may choose to meet with an advisor for a variety of reasons including academic difficulty, planning your transfer to a four year college, and/or choosing courses that apply to your major.  

What are the college placement tests and do I need to take them?
Placements tests are given to assess your level of skill in reading, English, and mathematics. The scores you receive on these tests are designed to provide you and your advisor important information useful in planning your schedule of classes. Each campus has an Assessment Center where placement testing is available throughout the year and there is no fee associated with the tests. More information about the placement test, and links to helpful placement practice sites are available from the Testing Center.

How do I apply for a Selective Admissions program?
If you are interested in a Health Professions program, you must first apply to CCBC using the Application for Admission. Once you have applied to the college, you must then meet admission criteria before you are admitted into the specific health program. It is very important for you to meet regularly with an advisor to assure that the courses and grades are in accordance with the requirements of the program. Most selective admissions programs require the submission of a separate application to the program in which you seek enrollment.
These applications are available online, and at the Enrollment Services and Selective Admissions offices.

Can I get credit for job / life experience?Each department has its own policy on how and if it awards credit for prior work experience. You can contact the specific department to inquire about its policy. Also see the Assessment for Prior Learning area.

Selecting Courses

How many courses should I take?
The answer depends on your own situation. You need to be the judge of how to balance your academic load with your work, social life, and other responsibilities. However, in general, students who work full-time will find it difficult to do more than two courses a semester. Students who do not work or work part-time may be able to take a full-time course load which is 12 credits or 4 courses.

What is the difference between a full-time and part-time course load?
CCBC defines a full-time load as at least 12 credit hours in the main fall and spring semesters. A part-time load is anything less than 12 credits in the main fall and spring semesters.

How much time will I need to study for each course?
Again, this will vary. We suggest that students plan to spend at least two to three hours outside of class for each hour in class per week. Therefore, a full-time student should allow 24 to 36 hours of study time per week in addition to the 12 hours of class time per week.

Are developmental classes required, especially since they do not count toward a degree?
Yes, if your assessment or placement tests show that you need them. Although these courses may not count towards graduation, they are preparation for success in college level coursework. Most CCBC courses require a certain level of reading, English, and/or math competency in order to enroll. The course descriptions in the College Catalog lists the requirements for each course.

How do I know which courses are offered in a given semester?
When you select a course from our program/course search, you will be taken to the webpage for that particular course. Under the description, you will see a table displaying the semesters, days, meeting times, pre-requisites, and instructors for each section of that course.

Online Learning

Visit the CCBC Online for questions regarding online learning including:

  • Technical requirements of an online course.
  • Deciding if online learning is right for you.
  • Taking exams in an online course.

Continuing Education Non-Credit Courses

Program Offerings and Requirements

What is the difference between an A.A., an A.S., and an A.A.S. degree?

The associate of arts (A.A.) degree is comprised of 36 credits of general education courses and at least 24 credits of additional coursework based on the student's educational and career goals. The A.A. degree may allow students the greatest freedom in choosing elective courses in pursuit of their four-year college degree. In addition to the 36 credits of general education requirements, students must earn at least a 2.0 GPA and at least 60 credits.

The associate of science (A.S.) degree is similar to the A.A. degree in that the general education requirements are the same and it is intended for students wishing to transfer after graduating from CCBC. As with the A.A. degree, in addition to the general education requirements, students must earn at least a 2.0 GPA and at least 60 credits. The main difference is the concentration of the degree, which in the case of the A.S., is more science or math related.

The associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree is designed for students wishing to acquire skills necessary to enter the workforce in a given field upon completion of their degree at CCBC. The general education requirements for the A.A.S. degree comprise at least 21 credits and the remaining courses focus on areas of knowledge and acquisition of skills needed to enter the chosen occupational field. An A.A.S. degree requires between 60-70 credits.

What is the difference between a certificate and an associate degree?

An associate degree requires a minimum of 60 credits including general education requirement courses, as well as courses required in the chosen program of study. A certificate program is a planned sequence of courses focused on a chosen program of study only, and generally requires about 30 credits. Most students completing one of the CCBC certificate programs can continue on and earn an associate degree in the same program.

What are the general education requirements?

General Education requirements are a collection of courses from a broad range of topics that add to a student's educational experience. These courses are separated into eight different categories. As a student seeking an A.A., A.S., or A.A.S. degree, you will be required to select courses from each of these categories as part of your academic coursework. Meeting with an academic advisor to discuss these requirements and your best options for course selection within these broad categories may be helpful.

How do I choose a major or program of study?

The most effective way to choose a major is to look at your skills and interests and relate them to your short/long term career and personal goals. CCBC offers free career counseling services to currently enrolled students. Career counselors can help you to identify your skills, interests, personality traits and values to assist you in making an informed career decision.

How do I change my major or program of study?

You will need to complete a "Change of Information" form which can be obtained from the Enrollment Services Center or the front desk of the Academic Advisement Center. You can then submit the form to the Enrollment Services Center where the change will officially be made.

If I haven't taken courses in several semesters, do the credits I previously earned still count towards my degree?

Your credits will count as long as they are a part of your new degree requirements. Students who change their major or have a continuous two year break in their studies must follow the degree requirements in the most current CCBC Catalog . Your credits will always remain on your transcript.

Grade Concerns

Will my GPA transfer?

No. If you attended another college prior to CCBC, your GPA starts over at CCBC. If you transfer to another college after CCBC, your credits may transfer, but your GPA will not. Your combined GPA may be calculated for admissions decisions, but your GPA from CCBC and other schools will not transfer to the next school.

What GPA do I need to graduate?

To qualify as a candidate for a certificate or an associate degree, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

How do I raise my GPA?

There are several ways to raise your GPA:

  1. By obtaining high grades in your courses.

  2. By retaking courses in which you earned a low grade. The higher grade will count in calculating your GPA, but both grades will continue to show on your transcript. Replacing a “D” or “F” grade will raise your GPA more quickly than taking new courses and averaging higher grades.

  3. By carefully planning your course load and asking for help from advisors, faculty and the Student Success Centers.

How do I calculate my GPA?

To check your GPA, sign onto SIMON to view your unofficial transcript. There are many GPA calculators available online. If you would like to calculate how many credits you need to improve your GPA, you can go to Google and search “How to raise my GPA.”

Is there a way to request the removal of an “F” grade on my transcript?

See Student Academic Appeals for more information.

I received a “D” in a course; should I take it again?

This depends on the course and its importance to your major. If you feel you can do better in the course the second time around and it is necessary for your major or career (or you need to raise your GPA), it is probably a good idea to retake the course. Keep in mind that both grades will appear on your transcript, but only the higher of the two grades will count in your GPA.

Financial Considerations

How much does it cost to attend CCBC?

See Tuition and Fees.Tuition is calculated by the credit hour based on in-county, in-state and out-of-state rates.

What about costs for Statewide Programs?

Students enrolling in the Health Manpower Shortage or other statewide programs as out-of-county students are eligible to receive tuition reduction to in-county rates. The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article Section 17-310, permits state residents to enroll in programs out of their county of residence and pay only the tuition and fees of a resident of that county, if the resident’s home county does not have a similar major.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The ideal time to send the application is between January 1 and March 1 for the upcoming academic year. If you should miss that time frame, you are still encouraged to submit your application. If you need a FAFSA or want more information, call, write, or email the Financial Aid Office on your campus. If you would like to apply online, visit the FAFSA on the Web.


How do I register for classes?

You may register for classes using one of the following methods:

Once you’ve found your course, select register next to the appropriate class section. Returning Students can go straight to SIMON and follow the online registration instructions.

Send your registration form to the Enrollment Services Center.

Visit the Enrollment Services Center nearest you during walk-in hours.

Transfer Information

I took college courses in another country. Do these credits transfer?

Yes, students seeking credit for university coursework outside of the United States should request a course by course evaluation of their transcripts by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Offices (AACRAO). Evaluations previously completed by the World Education Services, Inc (WES) or Education Credential Evaluators, Inc (ECE) will also be accepted.

How can I find out if/how my CCBC credits will transfer to a four-year college or university?

If you are seeking to transfer to one of the four year colleges or universities in Maryland, you can use the ARTSYS (Articulation System) website to determine the transferability of your coursework. If you are attempting to transfer to an out-of-state institution, you need to contact that particular school. In addition, CCBC has articulation agreements with a wide variety of colleges and universities.

How do I obtain a copy of my CCBC transcript?

For an official copy of your transcript, you can download the Transcript Request Form and submit it to the Enrollment Services Center. There is a charge of $10.00 per official copy of your transcript.

For an unofficial copy of your transcript, you can download a copy from SIMON.


How do I apply for graduation?

Visit the Graduation page for more information.