Courses & Programs

Become an Online Student

Our goal is to provide an exceptional educational experience for our students. When you take HCC courses online you may be at a distance, but you are never alone. We use both technology and a caring support system to bring our campus to you.

Here is what you need to know to become a student. From enrollment information to admission requirements, we will guide you through the steps necessary to getting started.

Is online learning right for me?

Online learning demands a different set of skills and study habits. It is likely a good choice if:

  • You want Holyoke Community College's top-quality education  with the flexibility of an online program
  • You are ready to join a dynamic learning community of peers
  • You are self-motivated and know how to keep focused on your goals
  • You have Internet access
How do I get ready to take an online course?

Getting ready to take an online course involves more than just signing up. These are some of the tasks you'll want to do before your course begins:

  • Contact our Online Advisor Specialist
  • Develop a plan to manage your study time
  • Identify a dedicated workspace for your coursework that is private and free of interruptions
  • Be prepared to actively participate in your online classes via Moodle.
  • Complete the Online Orientation to learn about HCC virtual campus
How does it work?

Online courses are taught in Moodle, our learning management system.  As with traditional courses, online courses have a syllabus and deadlines; they follow the same academic calendar and require students to fully participate. Discussions and communication with the instructor and classmates takes place inside the Moodle course. Assignments, projects and presentations are also shared via Moodle where students are often asked to engage in teamwork online.

What success strategies can I use for online learning?

Online learning successful strategies that are similar to those you may have used in the face-to-face classroom:

Manage your time effectively: Review due dates and set aside time to complete tasks and exams on time.
Engage with your class: Give yourself a presence in the class by participating actively. Remember, most of the communication in an online course is done through reading and writing, so make sure to access and contribute to your course regularly.

See what our faculty and students say!

Excited by the flexibility of online classes? Ready to take the next step?

  1. Submit your application. (Allow 24 hours for processing.)
  2. Take a placement test. (Read below for more information.)
  3. Explore our online course offerings.
  4. Directions for using Moodle, accessing your HCC e-mail, books, and payment will be sent to you upon confirmation of your registration. It takes at least one week for your HCC e-mail to be activated. 
  5. Log in to your class(es) the first day of the semester, read the course syllabus, and start coursework!

Note: Online classes are not self-paced. Students are required to log in during the first day of classes of the appropriate semester. Failing to do so can result in an administrative withdrawal.

For more information, please visit our frequently asked questions. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at

The HCC placement test is a computerized college placement test consisting of basic math, reading, and writing. Many online courses require placement test scores as a prerequisite. Students who have not previously completed a college level English or math course can satisfy this requirement by taking the exams. While students who live nearby may take the exam at HCC, those who live elsewhere may take the test at the location that is most convenient, including outside of Massachusetts. Please read and complete the following documents to begin the process.

The placement test is required of all students who intend to study at HCC. The purpose of these required tests is to assess achievement in the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics. Students who do not demonstrate college level readiness are required to take developmental courses that are designed to improve skills needed to be successful in college.


English: If you have successfully completed a college-level English course, you do not need to take the reading and writing assessment.
Math: If you have successfully completed a college-level mathematics course, you do not need to take the math assessment.
Previous test: If you were tested in the past, you may not need to re-take the test. Test results are good for two years.

Please note: You will be asked to forward a transcript of your grades to the admissions office at HCC.

HCC Guidelines for Remote Testing
Student Remote Test Request Form

Preparing for the Placement Test

Websites that may be helpful for review are:, and HCC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content on these sites.

testing at HCC

Testing takes approximately two hours. If you have a disability and require special accommodations to complete the placement test, please contact the Office for Students with Disabilities and Deaf Services (OSDDS) well in advance of the appointment. (Please note: Appropriate documentation of your disability must be provided prior to receiving accommodations.)

On the day of your appointment, be sure to bring a valid photo identification card or driver's license. It is important that you attend testing on your scheduled date. Should you need to reschedule, please call 413.552.2015 or email and write "PLACEMENT TEST SCHEDULE" in the subject line. Provide your name and student ID, as well as the best way to reach you.