Northwestern Michigan College may just be a two year community college, but the options for higher education for students are staggering. Since opening their doors in 1951 they have declared themselves a “people’s college”, meeting the demands for higher education in the Traverse City area of Michigan since their humble beginnings at the local airport. Today, their 100 acre campus and four satellite campuses stand as bastions to the schools dedication to “provide lifelong learning opportunities to our communities”.
Primarily NMC is a community college, offering Associate’s and certifications to around 5100 students, with popular majors straying to nursing, education, and general studies in preparation for transfer to 4 year schools. In truth, NMC is one of the most comprehensive “prep for college” colleges around, offering numerous opportunities for even higher education through their University Center, a partnership with “senior” universities in the state and Northwestern Michigan. Many courses are offered online and the center helps you identify which classes to take in pursuance of your desired degree, both through NMC and the partnering university. Classes are taken through the chosen university and use their resources/programs, with classes meeting at NMC in their University Center.
There are many distance learning options at Northwestern Michigan, from simple online courses to complete Associate degree and certificate programs with little to no on campus visits. As part of the Michigan Community College Association Virtual Learning Collaborative, students at Northwestern Michigan are connected to other community colleges in the state, allowing for even more options when it comes to creditable classes (you can still operate out of your home school while taking online courses at one of the other Michigan schools). For traditional students just looking to add some more classes in their spare time, online options number in the dozens, with some self-paced and others requiring proctored testing. There are also hybrid options, utilizing on campus visits for labs or group projects, but delivering most information online.
For those looking for a completely online college experience, there are 5 Associate’s degree options, as well as another 3 certifications offered. Some, like the two year nursing degree, will require some in person attendance for clinical and labs (usually in Traverse City), but all academic and theory are delivered online. Others utilize the MCCAVLC mentioned above to bring Northwestern Michigan students all necessary courses and can lead to agreements to finish with four year colleges, as with their Criminal Justice Associate’s.
Though not a distance learning option per se, the school also offers a “self-paced learning” option, where a student works with a faculty member to plan out a curriculum that lasts up to 15 weeks. Designed to allow for those with busy lives, scheduled meetings are held to complete assignments and self-guided exercises at Learning Labs on campus. Telecourses are also offered, using videos (viewed in the library or rented for home use) and textbook work to complete courses with minimal teacher interaction, though face to face meetings with faculty are required for all course offered (currently, there are 3).
Aspiring to offer educational opportunities to those at every level of post-secondary learning, Northwestern Michigan has taken over half a century of minds and offered them the chance to advance knowledge in their chosen path.