Wilkes Community College is located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, a small town of approximately 4,000 people. Wilkes Community College proudly views itself as an institution of higher education that enhances the quality of their community by assisting with workforce development through offering courses related to occupational, technical and basic skills. Also, Wilkes stays relevant to the community, not solely by providing a much needed educational arena, but by staying active in the community with service projects and cultural and recreational activities.
Wilkes Community College offers 6 divisions of studies: arts and sciences, business and public service technology, continuing education, advanced health technologies, advanced industrial technologies and basic skills. These divisions either offer associate degrees or certifications.
Under the Arts and Sciences Division, students can receive an Associate of Fine Arts in Drama. This program provides the curriculum of general education courses and drama specialization courses. This degree develops students to transfer to a four year drama program at a university. Careers paths for students that pursue an Associate of Fine Arts in Drama include possibly becoming drama teachers or actual performers.
The Business and Public Services Division offers degrees like an Associate in Bakery and Pastry Arts. This degree program provides students with the know how to make such foods as artisan breads, desserts, pastries and candies in high volume. Once students have completed this coursework they are then able to be employed in restaurants, hotels or bakery shops as entry level pastry/bakery assistants, assistant chefs or pastry chefs. Many individuals that one sees daily on television networks such as Food Network have undergone the type of training mentioned here.
The Advanced Health Technologies Division offers an exemplary nursing program. The program is a full four semesters including one summer session. The nursing program is very competitive, only allowing 80 students in the program. Once admitted, students are taught the knowledge and skills needed to administer proper care to patients; once students complete this program they will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN test.
The Division of Advanced Industrial Technologies offers certification in areas such as Architectural Technology. This program provides courses in construction document preparation, materials and methods, environmental and structural systems, building codes and specifications, computer applications and design projects.
Basic skills programs are high in demand across the country, therefore WCC offers adult basic education (ABE) courses such as GED preparation, ABE in general, Adult High School Diploma, ESL courses and Compensatory Education courses which helps mentally disabled adults age 17 and over who have received an insufficient or inadequate education. The goal of the Compensatory Education Program is to help individuals acquire the basic skills and abilities needed to become more independent and self sufficient. Individuals in this program study reading, life skills, money management, community living, health habits, problem solving, and pre-vocational skills.
Wilkes Community College offers a special early college high school program. This program begins in the students freshmen year in high school; students can choose a career path (such as a training program like nursing) through Wilkes Community College career and technical education programs. During high school students will take a few courses and when they graduate from high school and continue at WCC, they will ultimately receive credit towards their degree. This is highly advantageous for the student that is seeking a fast track to earning a degree that will lead workforce marketability, such as a degree in nursing.
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Wilkes Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The Wilkes Community College Medical Assisting programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Wilkes Community College has an open door policy. Incoming students must only submit official high school transcripts or GED, proof of physical examination, and complete college placement testing.
Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all previous institutions attended. In order for credits to be transferred, students must have completed the course with a grade of “C” or better. Only about 75% of courses taken at another institution will be accepted towards a degree, the remaining percentage must be taken at WCC. As a transfer student, one should inquire early about degree requirements, articulation agreements, and transcript evaluation services.
Students can expect a standard financial aid process at Wilkes. All students applying for financial aid are first required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. Wilkes itself awards scholarship to those who meet certain criteria and the college offers a variety of scholarships that makes attending this institution even more affordable. The many scholarships that are given out to WCC students are based on ACT scores, GPA and financial need.
Besides this tuition program students also have the chance to qualify for government grants such as the North Carolina Community College Grant that is awarded to students based on the same standards and eligibility requirements as the Federal Pell Grant. Of course, private loans and scholarships are also an option for students and their parents. Be careful when choosing a lender if loans are your only option. You do not want to end up paying more on a loan than you had originally signed for; as there are plenty of lenders, be choosy and consider all your options and aim for a loan that will give you a 3 to 6 month grace period to begin repayment post graduation.
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Learning should not be restricted to just the classroom. To get a well rounded quality education, college students need to engage themselves in activities around campus as well. The Merlefest an annual event that involves the whole Wilkesboro community is a fundraising event that was started back in 1988 as a memorial to Eddy Merle Watson. The Merlefest is an annual event held on WCC campus. The event has individuals that perform traditional-plus,’ meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles "we were in the mood to play(Doc Watson).
WCC has many clubs and organizations on campus. One club on campus in particular is the Ye Host Club for students that are enrolled in the culinary arts program. This program in essence provides scholarships to culinary students and provides networking opportunities for students with professional chefs, and restaurants. The Rotaract Club is a worldwide organization of college students that want to make a difference in the world. Through community and international service projects such as adopt a highway clean-up and walk-a thons, this club helps improve the lives of the people around them. This club actually sponsors many events on and around WCC campus such as the Merlefest and the county fair.
The Baptist Student Union associated with the Southern Baptist Association host such activities as weekly Bible study meetings, mission activities, community outreach, and retreats with students who attend other colleges and universities in North Carolina . To ensure WCC students succeed, tutoring services are offered in core subjects such as math and writing skills. As seen at larger and 4 year colleges, WCC offers students counseling services such as career counseling that helps students choose the correct classes and career paths, and personal counseling that helps students cope with lifes ups and downs such as crisis situations and conflicts. Intramural sports such as football, volleyball, ping pong and basketball are also available to WCC students. WCC is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, offering competitive sports like womens basketball and mens baseball to its student body.
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Wilkes Community College operates in three locations. Each location offers their own programs that are particularly tailored to address the needs of the target community. The Ashe Campus offers seven degree programs. These degree programs offer a basic college transfer curriculum, which is ultimately the curriculum that meets the standard first two years of a four year college. The Ashe Campus also offers technical degrees in accounting and electrical technology, to name a few. Continuing education courses like adult basic education and GED classes, job skill courses and other degrees such as certification in real estate and phlebotomy are also offered.
The Alleghany Center is WCC’s career skills center. This center offers JobLink, a public program that offers training and employment help through such resources as Vocational Rehabilitation and Work First. Examples of courses that students can take at this center include certification in computer engineering and office systems technology. Classes are offered in three ways, a traditional class setting, a hybrid course that is half online and half class meetings or all online in the A. Anderson Huber Cyber classroom, that is located in Alleghany High School. Continuing educations courses offered at the Alleghany Center range from notary public to emergency medical and fire fighter training.
Despite its community college standing, Wilkes has an impressive library and partnerships with other surrounding libraries that provides its students with necessary learning and research facilities. This Division of Learning Resources/Pardue Library also contains the James Larkin Pearson Library. Public libraries around the county have agreements with Wilkes also to allow students further access to resources.
Wilkes Community College. Web. 5 May 2011. <http://www.wilkescc.edu/default.aspx>
Wilkes Web Solutions.Wilkesboro North Carolina. Web. 5 May 2011. <http://www.wilkesboronorthcarolina.com/>
Town of North Wilkesboro North Carolina: 2003-2011. Web. 5 May 2011.< http://www.north-wilkesboro.com>