Few things feel better than hitting submit on your final application to college. By the end of January, a lot of students are sending in the their last of their essays and transcripts and giving themselves a high-five. But they might be making a huge mistake.

Even if you’ve done all the work up to now and applied to the “right” number of schools, if an application to your community college isn’t included, you’re still one short.

Hold Up: Community College?!

That’s right. You should definitely apply to community college. And I’m not just saying that because this is a blog by American Honors, a nationally recognized honors program at local community colleges. (Although, that’s probably not an entirely unrelated fact either.) There are a ton of reasons why community college is an awesome choice for your higher education, so don’t discount it.

But at this point, you don’t need to be deciding where you’ll go. You just need to apply.

I Thought You Didn’t Have to Apply to Community College

American Honors at your community college.

It’s true that community colleges have a deep commitment to accessibility, but it’s not exactly like you can just stroll in and take any class whenever you feel like it. You still have to go through the appropriate process, and not every program is open for registration. Some community colleges have programs that are selective. If there’s a special program you’d want, applying now helps you know whether you’ll be able to be in it.

Even if community college is your safety school, it’s not a “safety” school until it’s a sure bet.

Community College is My First Pick Anyway

Well you know how I feel about that: it’s awesome. Staying local at a two-year school is a fantastic way to save money, discover what you really want to study, and even get a better chance at earning a bachelor’s from your dream school after transferring. If you’ve already made that smart choice, make another one and apply now! Especially if your must-have program at the school has scholarships attached to it that are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Knowing where you plan to go to college can help you get started on your scholarship search (which, yes, starts today, unfortunately).

American Honors is a selective honors program at local community colleges. It’s got fantastic classes, great students, amazing advisors, and a national transfer network of some of the best 4-year schools in the nation. It’s pretty cool. If you’re applying to a community college, find out if it has American Honors.

Authored by Jared Meyer

Jared specializes in communication in higher education. He writes about getting into college and succeeding once you're there. He's the editor of the American Honors Blog.