2020-2021 Catalog and Student Handbook 
    Jul 15, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Admission to the College


Columbia State Community College offers many different opportunities for education. All individuals are encouraged to attend as either credit or non-credit students.

In order to be admitted as a credit student, individuals must meet the requirements of admission to the category in which they are applying. These requirements differ depending on the type of admission chosen. The requirements reflect the academic background and/or basic academic competencies required to succeed in the various courses and programs.

Some specialized programs have specific admission requirements in addition to the College's general admission requirements. Acceptance to the College does not constitute admission to these programs (see "Programs with Special Admission Requirements").

Individuals wishing to take non-credit courses do not need to apply for admission but may enroll directly through Workforce and Continuing Education (see "General Requirements for Admission to Non-Credit Courses").

Admission application services are available on the Columbia campus and at the administrative offices at all of the College's campus locations.

Selective Service

All U.S. citizens and non-citizens 18 through 25 years of age residing in the United States must register with Selective Service prior to registering for classes at the College. This does not apply to those exempt by federal law including females, non-immigrant aliens on student, visitor, tourist or diplomatic visas, and active duty military. Contact the Admissions Office for a detailed listing of Selective Service exemptions.

Medical or Health Information

The General Assembly of the State of Tennessee mandates that each public or private postsecondary institution in the state provide information concerning measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and hepatitis B infections to all new students enrolling for the first time.  Tennessee law requires that these students complete and sign a waiver form provided by the institution which includes detailed information about the diseases.  The form must be completed by a parent or guardian of any applicant under the age of 18.

Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlement Act

The Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlement Act (EVEA) [TCA§4-58-101 seq.] requires public institutions of higher education to verify that persons seeking a "state benefit" are either a "United States Citizen" or "lawfully present" in the United States.

The term "state benefit" includes in-state tuition, lottery scholarship, academic scholarship, common market, or any other form of tuition assistance or wavier funded with state- appropriated dollars. State benefit does not include tuition assistance funded privately, such as a scholarship from the institution's foundation or a privately endowed scholarship.

For more information on this act or documentation needed to verify "state benefit" eligibility, please contact the Admissions Office.

General Requirements for Admission to Credit Studies

The Admissions Office is the unit responsible for administering admission policies of Columbia State Community College. The Admissions Office coordinates both general and program-specific admission policies.

First-Time Applicants

To ensure adequate time for processing applications, the applicant should submit an Application for Admission and satisfactory scholastic credentials by the application deadline (see "Important Dates ") for the semester in which enrollment is planned. The applicant must include a list of all educational institutions attended beginning with high school. In general, admission to the College in credit studies is granted to qualified applicants only after all required documents are received by the Admissions Office.

Returning Students

Students who have previously taken credit courses at Columbia State and who return to the College after being absent for one semester (excluding summer) must file an application for readmission with the Admissions Office.

Students who have attended other institutions of higher education since last attending Columbia State must have all of these institutions send official transcripts to the Admissions Office.

Admission Requirements for Specific Credit Classifications

Undergraduate Degree Students

Students who have selected a program of study and are pursuing a degree or certificate are classified as undergraduate degree students. This classification includes beginning freshmen, transfer students, and former Columbia State students.

Freshmen, Beginning Students are students who enroll in college for the first time and are working toward an undergraduate degree or certificate.

  1. High School Graduates must meet the academic assessment requirements and submit the following:
    1. a completed Application for Admission.

    2. an official transcript reflecting graduation from high school. The high school must forward the transcript directly to the Admissions Office. Tennessee public high school graduates' transcripts must include a notation indicating the student passed any required state proficiency examinations. The transcript of a home school student should be an official copy from an affiliated organization as defined by state law (TCA § 49-50-801). Transcripts from independent home school students must be accompanied by certification of registration with the superintendent of the local education agency, which the student would otherwise attend. Students unable to provide a satisfactory secondary school credential may substitute an acceptable High School Equivalency Diploma (GED® or HiSET®).

    3. submit ACT or SAT test scores. These scores are not required for admissions and are used only for advancement and placement.  Scores must be dated within five years prior to the first day of the semester of enrollment.

  2. Non-High School Graduates (students who have not graduated from high school) must comply with academic assessment requirements and must:

    1. be at least 18 years old.

    2. submit a completed Application for Admission. 

    3. submit an official transcript of scores for the High School Equivalency Diploma (GED® with a composite score of a least 450 or HiSET® with a composite of at least 45 and no sub-test score below 8.) Certified copies must be forwarded directly to the Admissions Office at Columbia State from the issuing agency.

    4. submit ACT or SAT scores.  These scores are not required for admissions and are used only for advancement and placement.  Scores must be dated within five years prior to the first day of the semester of enrollment.

Transfer Students are students who have been previously enrolled in an institution of higher education other than Columbia State. Transfer students must be eligible to re-enter the school from which they are transferring. Students who are on current dismissal from a previous institution may be admitted as a transfer student on probation. After application is made to Columbia State and all supporting documentation is received, transfer credit evaluations are conducted (see "Acquiring Credit " in the Academic Information  section).

All transfer students must:

  1. submit a completed Application for Admission
  2. submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education. Certified copies must be forwarded directly to the Admissions Office at Columbia State from the issuing institution. Transcripts carried by the student may be used for advising and course selection but are not acceptable for full admission and transfer of credit.
  3. submit an official high school transcript showing graduation or a High School Equivalency Diploma (GED® with a composite score of a least 450 or HiSET® with a composite of at least 45 and no sub-test score below 8) if less than 60 semester credits have been transferred, or when deemed necessary for placement.
  4. undergo assessment and placement if the student does not meet a stated course prerequisite or basic academic competencies.
  5. students with ACT or SAT scores that are dated within five years of the first class day of the semester for which the student plans to enroll may choose to submit such scores for use in assessment of academic placement.

Non-Degree Students

Students who enter the College for professional development and personal enrichment and are not presently pursuing a degree are classified as non-degree students. This classification includes audit, undergraduate special students, adult special students, transient students, and high school students.

Non-degree students are required to undergo assessment and placement if they do not meet a stated course prerequisite or basic academic competencies.

Non-degree students cannot become candidates for a degree or certificate until they have changed their classification to undergraduate degree student.

High school students admitted as non-degree students who wish to continue at Columbia State after graduation from high school must reapply for admission and be formally admitted to the College as degree students. Non-degree students who have previously taken credit courses at Columbia State and who return to the College after being absent for one semester (excluding summer) must file an application for readmission and submit any required documentation.

Audit Students are students who wish to sit in a credit course without earning credit. Students who wish to audit a course(s) must obtain approval of the dean of the academic division in which the course(s) is offered. Approval is granted on an individual class basis according to available space and is limited to unrestricted classes. Students are required to complete an Application for Admission

Prior to the last day to add a class a student may change from audit to credit; however, all admission requirements must be met. Credit students wishing to change to audit in lieu of dropping a course may do so by following the proper procedures for a change of registration status.

Undergraduate Special Students are students who have graduated from high school or who have earned a High School Equivalency Diploma ( GED® with a composite score of a least 450 or HiSET® with a composite of at least 45) but do not wish to be admitted as undergraduate degree students. Students are required to complete an Application for Admission

Students who have not attended an institution of higher education must submit an official high school transcript or High School Equivalency Diploma (GED® or HiSET®). Students who have attended an institution of higher education must submit an official transcript from the last institution attended.

Undergraduate special students are not eligible for financial assistance. Additionally, undergraduate special students are not eligible for English or mathematics courses or for courses that have English or mathematics prerequisites unless appropriate test scores or prior college coursework is presented and evaluated.

Adult Special Students are students at least 21 years of age who have not graduated from high school, or have not earned a High School Equivalency Diploma (GED® with a composite score of a least 450 or HiSET® with a composite of at least 45 and no sub-test score below 8) and who do not wish to be admitted as undergraduate degree students.

Adult special students must present realistic academic goals for the attainment of particular skills or knowledge through selected courses and:

  1. schedule an interview with the Chief Enrollment Services Officer (or designee) or Campus Coordinator where the student plans to attend.
  2. submit a completed Application for Admission

Visiting (Transient) Students (This classification may be used for only one semester unless special permission is given by the Chief Enrollment Services Officer.) are degree students enrolled in good standing at another college or university who wish to attend Columbia State for one specific semester and transfer the work back to the parent institution. A student who has been accepted at a college or university but is to begin enrollment at a later semester may also qualify as a transient student.

An Application for Admission and a Visiting (Transient) Student Approval Form signed by the primary institution must be submitted to the Admissions Office to ensure that a transient student has the required background and is eligible to enroll in a course or courses.

High School Students

High school students may be eligible to enroll in college courses as non-degree students while completing high school. They may take classes as approved by their high school and for which they meet the prerequisites as defined in the Columbia State catalog (see the "Course Descriptions ".)

Courses will not be expected to count toward the student's high school diploma unless the student has made prior arrangement with the high school and/or local board of education. Eligible students may take classes at any location where Columbia State offers classes.

Upon graduation from high school, students must complete an application and be readmitted to the College. Dual Enrollment students may not take Learning Support courses.

Dual Enrollment Students - To be eligible for transfer college courses, students:

  1. must be enrolled as a 11th, or 12th grade student in a Tennessee public or non-public secondary school, or in a home education program.
  2. may enroll in a specific course based on the course's specific placement requirements as determined by the college.
  3. must enroll in high school approved dual enrollment courses in the general education core, Tennessee Transfer Pathways leading to a degree, Career and Technical Program of study leading to an academic award, or middle college or equivalent program.
  4. must secure parental permission and high school approval.
  5. submit a Dual Enrollment Application
  6. submit an official high school transcript.

To continue in dual enrollment, students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative college GPA. For information, contact the Admissions Office at 931.540.2790.

Academically Talented and Gifted Students - High school students in grades 9 through 12 who are academically talented/ gifted may qualify under Chapter 395 of the Public Acts of 1983 as follows:

"Academically talented/gifted students enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 in public or private schools in Tennessee may with the recommendation and approval of the high school designee and appropriate higher education institution personnel, enroll in and receive regular college degree credit from a Tennessee post- secondary institution if such a student has a grade point average equivalent to 3.2 on a 4.0 maximum basis and if such placement is a part of the student's planned Individual Education Program (IEP) as established by the multi-disciplinary team process."

Academically talented/gifted students must submit the following:

  1. completed Application for Admission
  2. signed letter of consent from student's parent/guardian.
  3. official high school transcript.
  4. signed letter of recommendation/consent from the high school's designee which includes verification that coursework with Columbia State is required in the student's Individual Education Program (IEP).

International Students

This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll non- immigrant students. Students must submit the following before admission and issuance of an I-20 form to apply for a F-1 student visa will be considered:

  1. completed Application for Admission
  2. official copies of academic records from secondary schools, colleges, or universities accompanied by notarized or certified English translation of these documents. Minimum admission requires completion of the secondary school. A course by-course evaluation should accompany college or university transcripts.
  3. all applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores or its equivalent directly from the testing agency. Scores more than two years old are not acceptable. The minimum score of 500 is required on the paper based TOEFL, 173 on the computer based TOEFL or 61 on the internet based TOEFL. Additional institutional placement assessment may be required of all international students.
  4. financial support to show financial capability of first year fees which consist of the current cost of attendance for an out-of- state, full-time, off-campus-housed student. Amounts typically increase each year. Expenses do not include tuition/fees for the optional summer term. Transportation to/from the College is not included. Additional funds are required for spouse and or dependents. Financial documents must be in English or in the original language and accompanied by an official English translation.  All monetary amounts must be converted to U.S. dollars.
  5. tuberculosis immunization certification from a licensed physician or other qualified medical authority; must be submitted within 30 days from the first day of classes. Failure to submit such certification shall result in denial of further enrollment or admission. In the event that a student either has tuberculosis or has potential tuberculosis requiring medical treatment, continued enrollment will be conditioned upon the determination by a licensed physician that further enrollment does not present a risk to others and upon the student's compliance with any prescribed medical treatment.
  6. proof of two doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) and Varicella (chickenpox) vaccines.
  7. complete a waiver form provided by the College that includes detailed information about Hepatitis B infection.
  8. documentation substantiating official status with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (Passport, Visa, I-20s, I-94, etc.).
Additional requirements for admission include:
  1. As a condition of admission and continued enrollment, students must purchase health insurance coverage through the TBR's Student/Scholar Health and Accident Insurance Plan if they do not otherwise have adequate coverage. Adequate coverage shall mean that the student's coverage meets or exceeds the level of coverage provided to participants in the TBR's Student/Scholar Health and Accident Insurance Plan.
  2. Students must become familiar with the regulations of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service and assume responsibility for complying with these regulations. Documents are due to the Admissions Office by November 15 for the spring semester or July 15 for the fall semester.

Permanent Residents - International students who are permanent residents must submit a copy of the front and back of their permanent resident card and meet all applicable admission requirements stated for classification as undergraduate degree students or non-degree students.

General Requirements for Admission to Non-Credit Courses

Individuals register for non-credit courses through Workforce and Continuing Education. For more information, call 931.540.2659. Admission to the College is not required. Admission is required, however, if a non-credit student wants to enroll in a credit course (see "Admission Requirements"). The Economic and Workforce Development Division awards continuing education units to participants of qualifying non-credit courses.

Additional Admissions Requirements for Transfer Programs (A.A., A.S.)

Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee Admission Standards

Admission will be granted to freshmen applicants who hold a recognized high school diploma and/or meet any additional requirements as stated below. The diploma will reflect a distribution of college preparatory courses, such as those required in the core elements of the Tennessee High School Diploma. These courses include the following:

English       4 credits  
  Algebra I and II 2 credits  
  Geometry or Higher 1 credit  
  Additional Math 1 credit  
Natural Science 3 credits  
United States History
(Required by TCA § 49-7-110. Students deficient in the completion of United States History are required to complete six semester hours of United States History or three semester hours of United State History and three semester hours of Tennessee History).
1 credit  
Social Studies
(including United States History and Geography, World History and Geography, U.S. Government, and Civics and Economics)
3 credits  
Single Foreign Language 2 credits  
Physical Education Wellness  1.5 credits  
Fine Arts 1 credit  
Personal Finance 5 credits  
(Consisting of math and science, career and technical education, fine arts, humanities,
advanced placement, or international baccalaureate).
3 credits  

Policy and Procedures for Mandatory Placement of Students

All students seeking credit must meet mandatory assessment and placement requirements prior to registering for courses with placement requirements.

Students scoring 19 or above on the ACT reading with ACT English subscores of 18 or above and ACT math subscores of 19 or above (SAT: 460 verbal, 460 math) are eligible to pursue college-level credit courses. Students who do not have scores sufficient to place into college-level courses will be placed into Learning Support and corequisite college-level courses accordingly. For placement purposes, ACT or SAT scores must be dated within five years prior to the first day of the first semester of enrollment. Transfer students who have credit in college-level math have met math placement requirements. Transfer students who have credit in college-level English have met English and reading placement requirements. Transfer students who have credit earned and posted in any approved general education college level course have met reading placement requirements. Students who do not have appropriate scores are required to take either the ACT, SAT or ACCUPLACER® or other approved placement test.

Students will be allowed two opportunities to challenge scores on the placement tests used by Columbia State for purposes of placement into college-level classes. Students may challenge the scores by taking a Columbia State administered placement test ACCUPLACER® (computer-generated and paper-version). The challenge exam cannot be completed on the same day as the initial placement testing. Fees for challenging placement are the responsibility of the student.

Students whose test results indicate no deficiencies in the basic academic competencies are permitted to enroll in college-level courses. Students will not be permitted to enroll in any course which has a stated prerequisite of one of the basic academic competencies until they have successfully completed the appropriate required Learning Support competencies.

Programs with Special Admission Requirements

Film Crew Technology

Film Crew Technology students must be able to visually assess colors and be able to determine the difference between Red, Black, Blue, Green and White. Admissions requirements are listed with the Film Crew Certificate Program.

Health Science Programs

The following health science programs require admission to the program after being admitted to the College:

  1. There is a deadline by which applicants must submit their applications to the appropriate health science program director. The deadline dates for each program are listed in the catalog and published program materials.
  2. Students interested in gaining admission to a health science program should follow the procedures listed below:
    1. Apply for admission to the College as outlined above.
    2. Apply for admission to the specific program as outlined by the specific program admission procedures in the catalog and published program materials.
  3. Health Science programs require completion of any required Learning Support course work prior to program application and admission. Review published program materials carefully regarding prerequisite courses.
  4. After students have completed all college and program admission requirements, the applications will be reviewed by the program's admissions committee. The program director will notify all students in writing concerning the disposition of their application. Class size is limited by space availability. Acceptance is not automatic, and continuation after admission is not guaranteed. Student progress is continually evaluated. (See the continuation policy in the catalog description of each health science program.) Students enrolled in these programs must participate in clinical experiences at various hospitals, clinics, laboratories, professional offices and/or other types of facilities. Transportation to and from these clinical experiences is the sole responsibility of the students. Columbia State does not assume liability for personal injury or property damage incurred while en route to and from these facilities.
  5. Students must have malpractice insurance. Students will be assessed malpractice insurance fees at the time of registration. The program director will provide information about such coverage.
  6. Students may also be required to carry personal health insurance while enrolled in the health science programs.

Criminal background checks and routine drug screens are required by several clinical training sites as a condition of participation in clinical education. Based on the results of the criminal background check, a clinical affiliate may determine to not allow one's presence at their facility. This could result in a student's inability to successfully complete the requirements of a specific course and the program. Additionally, a criminal background may preclude licensure or employment. More information is available from the program director.

Health Science programs may entail specific physical demands as required by the program's accrediting agency. For more information regarding these, please contact the appropriate program director.