We know that choosing a college is one of the hardest decisions you will make in your adult life. You have to know that you can afford the school you choose, be comfortable there and also trust that you will learn what you need to become a successful employee after graduation. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the “Top 14 things to look for in a college” and described how Glendale Community College tackles each concern. Whether you choose to become a Gaucho or go elsewhere, this list is a great starting point for all of those looking to pursue any type of degree or certificate.
Tuition Rate: If you’re reading this, presumably your goal is to get a college degree, so make sure to calculate the cost of a degree! A two-year college with $76 per credit hour is cost effective and possibly more financially realistic for some students. Try this calculator to figure out what’s best for you.
Class Size: The student to faculty ratio is important to consider when looking at colleges! At GCC, our ratio is 17:1 and our average class size is 22 students. That means our instructors are able to give you more personal attention and we’ve got personal support programs to help you succeed.
Good Financial Aid: It doesn’t matter how great a college is if you can’t pay for it! This year, GCC will exceed $2.5 million in scholarships given to approximately 3,000 students. We offer financial aid workshops, College Goal Sunday and financial and scholarship advisors to help you with aid for tuition, supplies, childcare, transportation and living expenses.
Internship or Student Work Opportunities: As you choose a college, look for schools that have relationships with companies and organizations to help students. GCC serves leading manufacturing and financial firms, educational and health care systems and public entities such as: Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Raytheon Systems Company, Deere and Company (John Deere) and AT&T just to name a few.
Travel Opportunities: A good education needs to get you thinking beyond your immediate surroundings! GCC offers courses that can take you across the country or even the globe! Study forensics in Washington, DC or reef fish in the Bahamas! You can travel the world studying a wide range of subjects such as Chinese culture, European literature, the Holocaust, the geology of Mexico and more!
Interesting Curriculum: College courses don’t need to be trendy to be engaging. As you look at colleges, be sure to spend time looking at the schedule of classes. Are there courses offered that interest you? Does the college have a strong first-year program to help you make the transition from high school to college-level work? College is kind of like high school, only totally different. That’s why GCC offers the First Year Experience Program (FYE). It allows you to:
- Make friends by taking a group of classes with the same students
- Learn “successful student” skills
- Experience a smooth transition to college-level courses
- Learn how to choose your classes, college major and career path
- Enroll in prime time classes reserved just for FYE students
- Benefit from ‘linked assignments’ that apply to at least two of your classes
Clubs and Activities: Before choosing a college, make sure the school has your extracurricular interests covered. At GCC, we got all the bases covered – from the performing arts, sports, student leadership and volunteerism to ethnic groups, career focuses and international clubs. Find schools that complement your interests. While the curriculum may be the most important feature of a college, you’ll be even happier with a stimulating life outside of academics!
Health and Wellness Facilities: Does the café have healthy options? What kinds of exercise facilities are there? Is there easy access to exercise equipment, a track and a swimming pool? Does the college have a counseling center to support students struggling with anxiety, depression or other psychological issues? Maybe these features aren’t high on your list but, did you know that students who are healthy in mind and body are much more likely to succeed in college than those who aren’t?
Good Academic Support Services: At times during your college career, you may struggle with the material. So as you’re choosing the schools to which you’ll apply, look into each college’s academic support services. Does the college have a writing center? Can you get an individual tutor for a class? Is there a learning center? In other words, try to find out how readily available help is should you need it. At GCC, we can answer yes to all of those. And best of all – it’s all FREE!
Strong Career Services: Most students go to college with the hope of either transferring to a 4-year university or landing an appealing job upon graduation. As you conduct your college search, look into each school’s career services.
- What help and guidance does the school provide as you apply for jobs, internships and graduate study?
- Does the college bring job fairs and graduate school fairs to campus?
- Does the college help students write and develop their resumes?
- Does the college conduct mock interviews to help students prepare for the real thing?
Good Computing Infrastructure: Most colleges have pretty good computing resources, but some schools are better than others. Whether for academic work or personal use, you want your college to have the resources you need.
- How many public computing labs are available for students, and what are their hours? GCC has three open labs with extended hours on the main campus and one on our North campus.
- Does the campus have a wireless network? Yep! Our entire campus is covered wirelessly, accessible with your student ID.
- Are most classes taught in “smart classrooms”? Are the professors taking advantage of emerging technologies? GCC offers state-of-the art instruction technologies in many of our buildings.
- Are classes supported by course management software, online course delivery systems, podcasts, or other technologies? Yes, yes, yes and yes. You name it, GCC has it!
Strong Alumni Network: A school’s alumni network can be a powerful tool for providing mentoring, professional guidance and employment opportunities. When you enroll at GCC, you immediately become part of our family – including every person who ever attended GCC. An active alumni network says something positive about a college. If the alumni care enough about their alma mater to continue donating their time and money long after graduation, they must have had a positive college experience. More than 400,000 alumni have been through GCC’s doors!
Credentials: Make sure the college you choose is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Why? It ensures your credits earned at that institution will be transferable to a 4-year college or university. Then think about this: What are staff credentials and reputation? As a student, it comes down to being taught by people who are truly at the top of their game, the people who are have the most knowledge in the field (check out our experts!). At GCC more than 90 percent of our faculty have advanced degrees. Their awards and accolades span internationally. We have a long-standing practice of hiring the best.
College Size: For some, attending college can be daunting. You want to feel like you belong yet it’s time to get to know new people. GCC’s campus spans 147 acres but feels like a small town. Because we offer so many varieties of classes and activities, you can feel right at home while also learning something new.