Oakland Community College (OCC) is a two-year college located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It was founded in 1965. The largest community college in Michigan, the college provides services to a huge area of the state—900 square miles containing 28 public school districts and 82 high schools. There are more than 77,000 students at OCC. The college serves the needs of the wider community in diverse ways, including continuing education, business consultancy, and service projects.
There are 5 branch campuses in Metro Detroit:
• Auburn Hills Campus in Auburn Hills
• Highland Lakes Campus in Waterford
• Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills
• Royal Oak Campus in Royal Oak
• Southfield Campus in Southfield
Two standalone administration buildings are also in the area—The Pontiac Center in Pontiac and the District Office Bee Administration Center in Bloomfield Hills.
Academics are generally recognized as strong. Class sizes are small, with less than 24 students in class on average. They are also successful— for instance, virtually all of the graduates from the nursing program pass the state licensing exam. Because the school is a comprehensive community college, students have a wide variety of programs to choose from.
Degree Programs and Requirements
The college offers a certificate of achievement for students who have earned work-specific skills. A student must earn at least 10 credits for each certificate of achievement earned. Most certificate programs, however, require between 30 and 45 credit hours.
Associate’s degrees require a minimum of 62 credit hours and a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0. Associate’s degree earners must also complete all the general education requirements, including at least one credit hour of physical education. Students with transfer credits must complete the final 15 credits of their education from OCC in order to be awarded a degree.
OCC has a high rate of transfer to four year colleges and universities from these degree programs. Study abroad opportunities in Mexico and Germany are available for students wishing to transfer to a four-year institution. The college offers five basic associate degree programs:
- Applied Science
- Business Administration
- General Studies
- Liberal Arts
OCC also offers continuing professional education in business, including IT project management; computer design; and network and security administration.
Finally, community enrichment classes include non-degree, non-certificate swimming classes, water aerobics, fencing, yoga, and practical classes such as motorcycle safety.
Some programs, such as Broadcast Arts Technology, are restricted to students who meet requirements above and beyond the general requirements for enrollment and/or are enrolled in a cooperative program at another institution. Interested students should read the online course catalog and contact the administration if they are interested in pursuing a restricted program.
The following services are offered to students: tutoring with trained tutors (both by appointment and walk-in); supplemental instruction with study group leaders; English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring and seminars; skill building seminars for English, technology, mathematics, and study skills; software for reading, grammar, mathematics, and MLA formatting; instruction in the use of Educator and Blackboard programs for online learning; orientations to CMS software; and other services as needed.
Students can apply for a library card online or in person at the circulation desk. In addition to the physical resources in each branch, the library uses the Michigan eLibrary Catalog, MeLCat, to provide learning resources for students. With 400 participating libraries in the system, MelCat extends the available number of volumes for student use into the millions.
Other resources offered by the library include Biology, a searchable, full-text biology encyclopedia; seminars to teach students about electronic databases, library research, and web research; plagiarism resources to show students exactly what does—and doesn’t—constitute plagiarism (and why it is so important to meticulously avoid it); and Netlibrary, a resource of thousands of ebooks available for download for faculty, staff, and students. The libraries also offer SearchPath, an interactive online tutorial which teaches students how to use the library catalog, how to find articles in research databases, how to choose informational sources including websites, and how to cite sources in a paper.
All campus libraries contain computers for student use. Library computers are available on a first come, first served basis and cannot be reserved ahead of time.
Most Popular Fields of Study
In keeping with its mission to provide higher education to anyone who desires it, the college has open admissions. Any student with a high school degree or equivalent is welcome.
International Student Admissions
There are international students from more than 80 countries at OCC. The college keeps international student advisors (ISAs) on staff to help incoming students with their visa status, assist students with cultural issues, and provide transfer assistance to graduating international students.
International students must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before registering at OCC. The Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (MTELP) is administered to international students after their arrival on campus, which OCC uses to determine whether further English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is necessary.
In addition to TOEFL scores, incoming international students must show proof that they are 18 or older, proof of completion of secondary studies equivalent to high school in the US, and a statement of finances showing that the student has the means to meet their financial obligations.
Students interested in obtaining financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to the usual range of federal and state aid available to college students in Michigan, such as grants and loans, OCC itself awards several institutional need- and merit-based scholarships.
Student Financial Aid Details
There are no residence halls on campus, but there is a vibrant student life on campus. Each term, the school sponsors a “Welcome Week” for new students. A community resource fair at Welcome Week links students to health care services, housing services, food assistance, and more.
Clubs and Organizations
There are over 40 student clubs and organizations. These include recreational groups such as Hai Gui Tai Chi Exercise Club, social groups such as Film Society, service groups such as International Youth Fellowship (IYF), and academic and professional groups such as forensics club and the Nursing Students Association. The college maintains Womencenter, a program which provides resources for women at the school and in the community to promote political awareness and personal growth. The school also hosts a two-day festival for the performing arts, in addition to theater performances throughout the year.
Student Life Workshops
The Student Life Office offers interactive workshops from community leaders for students free of charge. These include leadership development opportunities such as poetry and writing conferences, student organization officer training, and an annual student leadership conference.
The college maintains five child care centers. All five provide care for preschool-aged children aged 2 ½ to 6, but only the Auburn Hills Center provides child care for infants and toddlers younger than 2 1/2. All staff at the center have early childhood education degrees and all facilities are fully licensed and regulated. The centers are open weekdays from 7:45 AM to 5:15 PM from September to June.
The counselling department offers credit classes to orient students to college, develop their career portfolios, enhance self-esteem, and exercise assertiveness appropriately. They also offer a range of tutoring, career, and personal counselling services on an appointment and walk-in basis.
Student Services for the Neurologically Disordered
Services for students with neurologically-based learning disorders are available through Project BOLD, offered in conjunction with Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Project BOLD students receive customized academic therapy and counselling; extensive career and educational services; up to 30 hours per semester of one-on-one academic services with a learning specialist; self-advocacy and management skills training; weekly meetings with a team of professionals; and post-graduation support with transition to four year programs, career training institutes, or employment.
Candidates for Project Bold must be referred by school personnel, a physician, or a psychologist. Students should provide documentation of a neurologically-based learning disability and/or attention deficit disorder. Eligible students must be enrolled at least half time to receive program services.
Student Enrollment Demographics
The Raiders compete in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) and the National Junior College Association (NCJAA). Intervarsity sports include men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, golf, softball, volleyball, and tennis.
There are close to 300 full-time faculty members; the majority of instructors have advanced degrees.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.