College Corner: Why a community college
The first day a student walks through the doors of a college or university, he or she may feel lost, overwhelmed or confused. However, at community colleges across the country, part of the mission is to help all students make a smooth transition to college life. We are there when they feel lost about what they should do. We are there when they feel overwhelmed about the whole process of getting enrolled or filing for financial aid. We are there when they are confused about what classes they should take or what program would best fit their interest. We make a student feel like a “big fish in a little pond” instead of a “little fish in a big pond.”
Community colleges offer students the best of both worlds. What I mean by that is they have the opportunity to get a great education from excellent professors in small classes but don’t have the cost they would have at other institutions. The students also have the choice of taking programs that, when completed, can help them go into the workforce or take programs that will transfer, so they can continue their education. At CNCC we pride ourselves on how successful our graduates are when they leave here and go to work or when they achieve their dream of earning a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Another reason community colleges are a great choice is the uniqueness of many of their programs. At CNCC, when students graduate, they can go to work in health care as a nurse or dental hygienist. They can become pilots or be the ones who keep the planes flying. They can go to work for the National Park Service and travel the country. Of course, students can also go into more traditional programs, such as business, agriculture, equine, arts or sciences. Community colleges, especially Colorado Northwestern, will have a program that fits the interest of any student who walks through our doors.
Community colleges also offer the complete college experience for our students. At CNCC, they can join clubs and be leaders at the college. They can take classes that offer them the field experiences, such as paleontology. They can participate in athletics or be the ones cheering on the student athletes. They can go hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting or biking with other students with our student life programs. So, no matter what they like to do outside the classroom, CNCC has something for everyone.
Finally, community colleges offer students something they will not get anywhere else. At community colleges, especially small rural community colleges, the students have the opportunity to get to know all faculty, staff and administration. Students at CNCC can be seen having lunch with an administrator, talking sports with faculty or just walking down the sidewalk with a staff member. The “family” atmosphere will make students feel at home and provide them the security and support they need throughout their college careers. Our open-door policy at CNCC shows our students how much every employee cares about them.
Though I could give a hundred more reasons why community college is a great choice for students, the bottom line is, at CNCC, we care about our students. We not only provide them with a great education, but also show them we are with them every step of the way.
Ron Granger is president of Colorado Northwestern Community College.