Harford Community College (HCC) was established in 1957 in Bel-Air, Maryland, a small town about 23 miles from Baltimore. If you attend HCC in Bel-Air, you will truly get to experience the concept of hometown charm while being only miles away from a bustling city. The main campus of Harford sits on 332 acres and includes two other campuses. The college is considered one of the “greenest” in the country, having LEED buildings and energy-efficient rooftops. This east coast community college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Harford is working toward a solid reputation as a college that provides affordable, quality education opportunities to its community. Furthermore, it is the college’s goal—which it is proudly on its way to accomplishing—to establish long-lasting ties to the surrounding community through its continuing education and career development programs. These programs were created in hopes that the Maryland State Plan for higher education would be implemented through HCC’s fostering of critical need programs in health care, technology, and teacher preparation courses.
Harford offers over 65 programs of study. The college awards Associate of Arts, Associate of Sciences, Associate of Applied Sciences, and Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, as well as certifications in various industry areas. These majors and certifications are highly diverse and represent both non-traditional and traditional program of study choices, such as horticulture, science laboratory technology, chemical dependency counseling, and computer aided design and drafting.
HCC offers an honors program to incoming freshmen, transfer, and current students. To be admitted, students are required to have at least a 3.2 GPA, be eligible to take college-level English without taking remedial courses, and maintain a 3.0 GPA in all courses designated “honors.” Being in the honors program offers students the unique opportunity to be in classes with no more than 15 other students, allowing more personal time with instructors to better understand the material being presented. Honors students are also eligible for special scholarships and possibly transferring to the honors program offered by Towson University.
Cooperative education, similar to an externship, is a program that combines college study programs and hands on experience in a workplace setting. To enroll in this program, students must already be HCC students with a minimum of 12 credits (9 of which must be related to their major), have a GPA of 2.0, and have declared a career direction, such as criminal justice, English, environmental technology, general studies, history, or interior design.
HCC offers online learning programs that give students the option of earning associate degrees in business administration, general studies, or psychology. Online learning allows students to attend classes at their own pace. As many community college students fall under the category of a non-traditional student due to age and workforce experience, online courses help to better serve this sector of the school’s population. Working parents, already established professionals, and others who cannot attend classes in a traditional setting can take advantage of HCC’s online learning programs.
Continuing education is a booming business in the college industry. Continuing education allows adults to obtain the skills necessary to perform many of the jobs that are in consistently high demand. Harford offers several continuing education programs, such as computer training and certification in A+, Network+, and Cisco, just to name a few. The school also has much to offer in the area of adult basic education and advancing literacy, such as GED preparation and English as a second language (ESL) courses. The college also offers community education courses, which caters to those in the community that may want to take classes to learn certain skills in diverse areas from cooking to finance to driver education.
Harford also has a business and industry division. This division offers apprenticeship programs in air conditioning and electrician training; each apprenticeship is a four-year program. This division also oversees quality training for various businesses in the area. Classes are offered at virtually any time, anywhere and are specialized to fit the needs of the local business sector.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Harford has an open door admissions policy. Incoming freshmen are required to submit official high school transcripts. Students from 16 to 19 years of age who are applying for enrollment are required to attend the “one-stop session” in which applicants take an academic skills assessment, meet with an academic advisor to register for classes, and receive their IDs.
HCC has several programs in place that welcome high school attendees to its campus. In fact, high school students have several options for attending college there while still technically in high school. Students in their senior year can waive going to high school and take courses at HCC. Students need only to have a letter of explanation and a parental letter supporting the student’s choice. The student will still graduate with his/her senior class but will get the experience of being in college.
Dual enrollment is another option; this option allows students in high school to take college level courses for college credit while completing high school courses. Part-time enrollment and concurrent enrollment are pretty much the same—high school students can take high school credit courses at college while still attending high school classes, however, high school credit is not given for courses taken. Students following this program are typically participating in career training programs.
Transfer students must submit a high school and college transcript to be admitted to HCC. International students must submit proof of English proficiency by taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Bank statements and a notarized letter of support must be sent as proof of financial capacity to meet all obligations. Finally, proof of medical insurance must be provided before admission as an international student at HCC.
Tuition costs at Harford are quite affordable, but those who still need additional financial assistance should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Grants like the HCC Head of Household Grant can be given to students who have dependent children. The Pell Grant is another typical option. Eligibility for these grants can only be determined after the FAFSA has been submitted and reviewed, thus it is essential that the FAFSA is completed well ahead of time.
Other forms of assistance include scholarships, such as HCC’s Non-Traditional Scholarships, which are given to students who enroll in non-traditional occupational programs. The Presidential Scholarship and Honors Scholarship are primarily merit-based and reserved for incoming high school freshmen or continuing students. Scholarships are also offered through certain departments, such as nursing and music.
Student Financial Aid Details
Learning does not belong just in the classroom. To get a well-rounded, quality education, college students need to be exposed to activities around campus. Harford offers several clubs and organizations in which students can become involved. Clubs like the American Society of Interior Designers brings together future interior designers with well-established design professionals. The Legends of Step perform “step” events around campus and provide an excellent precursor for those who may want to join a sorority or fraternity at a 4-year school. The Vagina Warriors is a club that uses the performance of the Vagina Monologues to raise awareness of violence against women and support for abused women and children.
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Hoo hoo hoo? The fighting owls, that’s who, are Harford’s mascots. The college has 12 intercollegiate sports teams and is a member of the NJCAA Division I. HCC offer men’s basketball, baseball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and tennis, along with women’s volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, and softball. Harford maintains the Harford Sports Complex, a full-sized soccer/lacrosse/hockey field, two lighted softball diamonds, one lighted baseball diamond, and a convertible turf field. This complex is open to the public and hosts minor league baseball practice and games and youth baseball teams.
Additional School Information
Harford operates many community service outreach programs. HCC owns and operates a preschool and an elder and child care center. The Adult/Childcare center is located on campus and is partnered with the YMCA. The Adult Day Care Services allow relief for families that need care for mentally or physically frail older adults. The center provides stimulation, socialization, and medical supervision for these individuals on a temporary basis.
HCC coordinates the Small Business Development Center, which assists current and future small business owners by providing consulting and training services at little or not cost. The college assists in developing a business plan, analyzing marketing for a service and products, and helping with any other technical services.
Josh is a full-time professional writer and organic farmer who lives in rural Kentucky.