Ninety years ago this fall, Garden City Community College opened its doors to the first group of students to attend college any college in Finney County. A class of 23 enrolled, including 22 freshmen and a lone sophomore.

This fall, as we open the many doors across our 14-building, 65-acre campus, we're anticipating about 2,300 students.

If you're someone who might like to be part of this historic class, the time to enroll is now.

As a matter of fact, public registration has been available all summer for GCCC fall semester classes, which will be getting under way on Aug. 19.

Opportunity awaits

With the exception of Aug. 14, when the campus is closed for employee inservice, we're open for enrollment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Friday. The place to go is the GCCC Student and Community Services Center, the tall building on the east side of the campus, just in off of Campus Drive.

We have literally hundreds of fall term classes on the schedule, and a lot of them are designed specifically to help people who want to boost their job or career prospects.

In addition, of course, you can count on GCCC for traditional college academic classes and programs, plus help in building essential skills and abilities, or simply enriching life for you and your family through participation and education.

Answers, assistance

If you have questions, you can get answers, too. Staff members in the GCCC Admissions Department are available at 276-9608, and you can reach GCCC toll-free from outside the Garden City area by calling (800) 658-1696.

In addition, we have free class schedules and assistance available at the Student and Community Services Center, and there's also a full listing of courses available on our Web site. All you have to do is visit www.gcccks.edu, and click on "Search for Classes."

There's another option, too. People interested in registering as part-time students, in up to seven hours of college credit, can do so by telephone with the GCCC Phone Enrollment Hotline at 276-9653. The line is open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, prior to Aug. 14, and you're eligible to use it if you've applied or taken a course from GCCC anytime in the past 17 years.

Options, benefits

GCCC has more than six dozen majors and programs among our credit class offerings, and just a few examples of the potential career areas include:

Business

Firefighting

The paramedic field

Information technology

Nursing

Teaching and coaching

Sports medicine

The news media

Cosmetology

Music

Automotive technology

Welding

Law enforcement

These are taught by a corps of highly qualified faculty personnel in our labs and classrooms, backed by individual tutoring and assistance that's available day and night on campus in the Mary Jo Williams Comprehensive Learning Center, and by grade reports that show GCCC transfer students equaling or outperforming their university classmates.

And there's also the advantage of affordability. GCCC tuition costs just $43 per credit hour, while credit hour rates at public universities across the state will range from $98.20 to almost $219 in the year ahead. For many southwest Kansans, scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available. That's higher education and lower cost.

People who attend GCCC, by the way, range in age from 17 to 89, and include everyone from recent high school graduates to working professionals. Men and women of non-traditional college age, as a matter of fact, make up about one-third of our student body.

If you're interested in turning your future into an individual economic stimulus package, then we hope you'll seriously consider the courses and programs available this fall at GCCC. We've been opening the doors to opportunity for 90 years, and they're opening again on Aug. 19.

Director of Information Services and Publications Steve Quakenbush can be e-mailed at steve.quakenbush@gcccks.edu.