If walls could talk, Danville Community College (DCC) would have quite a story to tell. It would begin in 1890 when the 11 buildings on the sprawling 86-acre campus in Southern Virginia were home to the Danville Military Academy. It would remain a military academy until 1939, just as Europe was heading into another world war. The campus itself became part of a subplot of World War II in 1944. Guarded by the military, prisoners of war called the campus home until 1945.
The end of the war saw the release of the prisoners, and the campus again found itself transitioning. This time, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Danville Technical Institute shared the campus. Eventually, in 1966, the two schools merged to create today’s Danville Community College.
Today, DCC serves students in Pittsylvania and Halifax counties and provides students with an idyllic setting for learning. Danville, self-described as “the heart of Southern Virginia,” sits along the Dan River, providing students and community members with plenty of outdoor activities, especially with the temperate climate year round. Golf, tennis, hiking, walking, biking, and motorsports are popular activities, while antiquing is another popular pastime. Wine connoisseurs have the
Tomahawk Mill Vineyard & Winery; animal lovers might want to check out the Owen Farm and Petting Zoo; and baseball fans can catch a minor league Braves’ baseball game.
Academic programs at Danville, which holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, lead to the associate degree, a diploma, or a professional certificate. More than half of DCC’s students are working toward the associate degree at any one time. Students on this track typically plan on transferring to a four-year institution, while diploma and professional certificate programs generally lead to a position soon after graduation.
Students can choose from more than a dozen majors for the associate degree, ranging from accounting and medical laboratory technology to general engineering technology and marketing. Diploma and certificate programs are available in such wide-ranging areas as air conditioning and refrigeration, graphic imaging technology, practical nursing, law enforcement, and drafting technology. The college boasts that graduates of many of its career-oriented technical and professional programs have had a 90 to 100 percent employment rate upon graduation.
Danville faculty and staff oversee a remedial program to ensure students, particularly incoming students and nontraditional students, are well prepared to succeed academically in college. In addition to the college’s remedial programs, students have access to the Learning Resource Center, which provides assistance with research, writing, and tutoring.
The DCC Transfer Center is available to all students to assist them in preparing to transfer to a four-year college or university. An adviser at the center can help students choose the right mix of classes to ensure seamless transfer to a four-year school, help plan visits to colleges and universities, and provide assistance on admissions, financial aid, and scholarship applications.
Most Popular Fields of Study
DCC has an open admissions policy; applicants need only meet one of several criteria to register for classes. Applicants must have a high school diploma, have earned their GED, or be a transfer or a dual enrollment student. Dual enrollment allows for both traditional and home-schooled junior and senior high school students to take classes for college credit.
Applicants who have not earned a high school diploma and who are not a part of the dual enrollment program may still be allowed to take classes at the college provided they are at least 18 years old. However, such students may not be able to enroll in actual certificate or degree programs.
All applicants must fill out a paper or an online application form and submit high school and, if applicable, college transcripts. To receive in-state tuition, applicants must complete the Virginia Residency Form. Students must maintain a permanent residence in Virginia for one year prior to the enrollment date to be considered an in-state student.
Once students have completed the application process, they will be scheduled for placement, or COMPASS, testing to determine in which classes they should be placed. Testing is typically by appointment.
Those students with significant life experience, previous training, or prior education may be able to parlay that experience into college credits. Consideration for advanced standing requires that the student contact the Dean of Instruction and Student Development Office for assistance.
In addition to the Federal Pell Grant, which is awarded to students on the basis of financial need, DCC students may be eligible for a number of other federal grants, including the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and the Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant. The latter awards $750 for freshmen and $1,300 for sophomore students who meet eligibility requirements and is based on both academic merit and financial need.
Virginia residents may be eligible for such state grants as the Commonwealth Award Grant, the VGAP grant, or the Part-time Tuition Assistance Program Grant (PTAP). The PTAP grant offers financially strapped students, enrolled in a maximum of six credits, funds to help pay for tuition only.
Students may also want to apply for scholarships for which they are eligible. The DCC Educational Foundation Inc. administers scholarships, based on academic merit and financial need, to eligible candidates. To apply for scholarships for the fall semester, students must fill out the Scholarship Application Form by mid-March. A full list of scholarships available through the DCC Educational Foundation can be found on the official DCC website.
The federal work study program and student loans, including the Parent Plus or the Stafford Loan, may be used to offset costs not covered by grants and scholarships.
Student Financial Aid Details
Students on the campus of DCC, which, like the majority of its community college counterparts is a commuter school, enjoy a thriving college social life. Student activities abound on campus, providing a way for students to socialize, create friendships, and even help the community around them. The popular student club TEACH – which stands for To Educate Always Creates Hope – offers education majors and students who plan to work with children the opportunity to volunteer within the community and to attend educational lectures.
Students who want to give a voice to those who have none, specifically animals and the environment, can join the Better Earth and Animal Treatment Society, which works to bring awareness to animal rights and environmental issues. The Networking Club is for computer students; the Japanese Culture Club exposes students to all aspects of Japanese life and culture; and the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Students with an interest in politics can run for office in the Student Government Association.
Those students juggling college life with parenting have the option of enrolling their child or children in the on-campus child care facility. Families First Children’s Center, ideal for children from two months old through nine years old, allows students to receive affordable childcare while also giving early childhood education majors the opportunity to get hands-on childcare experience to complement their classroom experience.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Basketball is among the most popular sports at DCC. Members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and playing in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), the DCC Knights wear the school’s colors of royal blue and white and have written quite a sports history for the college since the team played its first game in 2002.
In its brief history, the DCC Knights have proven a powerhouse on the baseball field, capturing VCCS conference championships in 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2010. In the years they didn’t earn championship status – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009 – they were crowned the runners-up to the champs.
Student athletes interested in becoming a part of the DCC Knights must fill out a recruitment form, which they can find and print on the college’s official website.
Athletes may also want to join the burgeoning soccer or golf clubs which, like the baseball team, play in the VCCS. Teams play against other schools’ teams inside and outside of the VCCS.
Josh is a full-time professional writer and organic farmer who lives in rural Kentucky.