Why do I have to work hard in high school if open admission is common?

In order to succeed in college, you need a solid foundation in reading, writing and math skills. Unless you build them in high school, you may have to take remedial, or catch-up, courses when you arrive at a community college. They are also called developmental or basic skills courses. These courses don’t count toward your degree, so graduating will take you longer and cost you more if you’re not prepared.

You’ll probably take placement tests when you start college. The results will show whether you need to take any catch-up courses before beginning college-level study.