The oldest public community college that has never ceased to operate in Washington state, Centralia College was founded in 1925 in the small community of Centralia. The campus, which occupies 29 acres, serves Lewis and Thurston counties, forming the Washington State administrative branch of Community College District Twelve. The surrounding area is largely rural, but the metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon are relatively close.
Accreditation is granted by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The school offers over 60 different academic programs, with degrees ranging from Associate in Arts to Associate in Liberal Arts and Associate in Science. The school is, hence, a two-year institution of higher learning, and students generally either aim towards a transfer program (with agreements in place with other state schools to accept graduates for four-year programs) or a professional/technical program to launch them into a specific career field.
Degree programs include liberal arts, nursing and emergency medicine, medical administration, criminal justice and business management.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions are open, which means that all applying students that meet the basic qualifications will be accepted to the school. For those under the age of 18, it is necessary to either have a high school diploma or to have a GED; persons that have already reached the age of 18 may apply for admission without either.
Returning and transfer students are expected to forward official copies of their transcripts to the school upon applying for admission, while students applying to enter one of the many online study programs have separate (and entirely electronic) admissions requirements. The most competitive area of admissions is the schools quite popular nursing program, which only accepts 24 first year and another 24 second year students.
International students (who form a surprising number of the school’s student population) have a separate application and admission procedure, with specific financial conditions stipulated. Finally, drop-in students (those not seeking a degree or certificate) are not required to formally apply for admission, and simply can enroll in courses after regular students have chosen their courses for the quarter.
Financial aid is available to all students with the exception of those entering as drop-in students (described above). Centralia participates in the federal Title IV financial assistance programs, and therefore a wide variety of standard local, state and federal aid options are available to incoming students.
The student body has a high proportion of non-traditional aged students in their 30s and 40s. The school is also distinguished by its large number of international students, particularly for a public community college. The school offers many different ways for students to get and stay engaged with the collegiate experience, either through the pioneering school journalism project or one of the many student clubs and organizations. A random though somewhat representative selection of student organizations include the International Club, the KCED Radio/TV Club, the Nursing Club, and the Phi Theta Kappa honors society club.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletic department competes in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAAC), and offers a variety of men’s and women’s teams which students can join. The school’s mascot, representative of the rural and pioneer region, is called “The Trailblazer” (depicted as a rough frontiersman). The intercollegiate teams are, for the women: volleyball, basketball, golf and fast pitch softball; and for the men: basketball and baseball. The school’s sports team colors are blue and gold.
The school is recognized for its excellent offering of financial aid for student athletes, at a level that is uncommon for public community colleges of its sort.
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.