First Time in College

Whether you’re just out of high school or starting higher education after years in the workforce, we’re here to help as you begin your college experience. CF has several initiatives designed to guide new students through their first year in college in order to ensure they are set up for success.


StartSmart@CF is CF’s proven process for success for first-time students. As a first-time-in-college student, you will:

  • Begin by exploring your strengths through career and interest surveys.
  • Be matched with a success specialist, who will advise you through your first year.
  • Collaborate to select an academic pathway with clear guidance on what courses to take and when to take them.
  • Benefit from free college resources such as tutoring.
  • Grow personally by making campus connections.

Each first-time-in-college student is assigned a First-Year Success Specialist, who helps you explore your career interests and choose the best courses and degree plan.

StartSmart Academic Pathways

Students smiling

Choosing a degree can seem daunting, so CF has developed academic pathways to help you get a feel for the classes you would take for a chosen degree. Click below to explore the different pathways in your chosen academic area to find the best degree path for you.

View pathways

How to Apply

As a first-time-in-college student, you will follow the standard application process. After submitting an online application, you’ll need to submit a few documents such as high school transcripts and placement scores. After admittance, you’ll be able to register for the upcoming semester!

See instructions

Financial Aid Information

All students are encouraged to explore financial aid options to help with paying for college. Aid options such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), scholarships and work study may be available to you.

Visit Financial Aid

TRIO Programs

Low-income students have access to several programs designed to help them be successful during and after college. Services include assistance with the college admissions process, financial literacy guidance, career advice and more.

See details