Tompkins Cortland Community College

Success & Advising

Get off to a great START at Tompkins Cortland


START - Student Testing, Advisement, Registration and Transition

START (Student Testing, Advisement, Registration, and Transition) is the new student enrollment process at Tompkins Cortland. All new, transfer, and reinstated students (those who are returning to Tompkins Cortland after more than one semester away) participate in the START process. The START process has two components, Student Testing (ST) and Advisement, Registration, and Transition (ART). Students also complete our Pre-Advising Questionnaire as part of the enrollment process.

For those students who need placement testing, we offer several flexible options to complete your tests. Students without any college credit in English or Math must test and can do so at one of Tompkins Cortland’s three locations (Dryden, Cortland, or Ithaca) or can test offsite. See the Placement Testing Information page for more information. Placement testing takes two to three hours for most students, so please plan ahead, being sure to account for travel time to your testing site.

All students must attend an Advisement and Transition session at the Dryden main campus prior to beginning of their first semester, unless they are fully online students.  At their Advisement and Transition session students receive and revise (if needed) their first semester course schedule, gain access to their myTC3 account, learn important information about the College and student resources (including financial aid, billing, and housing information - if applicable), take a campus tour (if desired), and have the opportunity to meet individually with an academic advisor.

For most students, the Advisement and Transition session is a half-day commitment (4-5 hours). It is important to plan ahead and ensure that you have time allocated to be on campus for most of the day, and that you make appropriate travel arrangements if you are coming from a distance. Students who are completing a fully online degree program at the College and who live too far away to reasonably travel to Tompkins Cortland will work with an advisor from the Student Success and Advisement office to complete Advisement and Transition without visiting campus, usually via phone. Email to request an exception from the required on-campus session.

Students who have been accepted to Tompkins Cortland and have submitted any transcripts from prior colleges as well as proof of high school graduation or receipt of a GED are eligible to move forward with the START process. Each student receives emails when they are ready to schedule placement testing and/or their Advisement and Transition session. The START process occurs as indicated below, but it is best to move through the process as early as possible for your intended semester of attendance.

For accepted students who plan to begin in the Fall Semester:

  • Student Testing (ST) runs from March-August
  • Advisement, Registration, and Transition Sessions (ART) are held April-August

For accepted students who plan to begin in the Spring Semester:

  • Student Testing (ST) runs from October-January
  • Advisement, Registration, and Transition Sessions (ART) are held November-January

For accepted students who plan to begin in the Summer:

  • Student Testing (ST) runs from October-January and March-May
  • Advisement, Registration, and Transition Sessions (ART) are held November-January and April-May

In preparation for Placement Testing, students should prepare in advance by reviewing sample questions so they understand what to expect on the tests. Students should also begin to review the requirements of their chosen degree program in the College Catalog.

Students should not wait until they have tested or come to campus for advising and transition to begin the financial aid process. The earlier that students complete their FAFSA and TAP, the sooner they can follow up on any additional information that is required to ultimately complete their financial aid package. Review the steps on the admissions home page for more information about how to enroll.

Once you have completed the START process, it is still very important that you regularly check your myTC3 account, including myMAIL for important email updates and myINFO to review financial aid and billing updates. Please make sure you are ready for the start of the semester by completing all steps on this checklist and plan to attend New Student Orientation.