If you're someone considering college for the year ahead, or you have a son, daughter, other relative or friend who is presently weighing that important decision, then you've probably seen your share of collegiate promotional literature.

There are all kinds of brochures, postcards, viewbooks, catalogs, pamphlets, flyers and other colorful pieces of advertising hitting the mail boxes of potential college students these days, not to mention electronic solicitations ranging from Twitter and e-mail messages to flashy pop-ups on every other Web site across the Internet.

While we can't even start to match the promotional budgets of the large universities and multi-campus community colleges that send out pictures and promises on an almost-weekly basis these days, we've probably added to your inbox with some GCCC information as well, and I have to admit that I hope ours has captured your attention.

However, we've also recently launched a new endeavor at GCCC, and if we're successful, I think it just might help a lot of college-bound students in making the right decision. That endeavor is the opportunity to log onto our Web site you can find us at www.gcccks.edu and create your own, customized brochure.

We went online with our new electronic brochure project this fall, and it offers each person the ability to select the programs, activities and student organizations that he or she finds the most relevant, and receive a personalized brochure that includes specifics on those areas.

Emphasis on individual

One potential student, for example, might want to major in English, participate in vocal music and get involved in our Hispanic American Leadership Organization. Another might be interested in playing basketball, seeking a degree in business and participating in our student news media.

In both cases, and many others, each student could order a GCCC brochure tailored to his or her interests. In addition, each can count on a pair of additional options:

* Receiving the customized GCCC brochure in a digital electronic format, so it can be viewed electronically via computer.

* Receiving the electronic brochure in conjunction with a paper copy, which arrives in the mail.

The electronic copy, or e-brochure, appears as a Web link, via e-mail, usually in a matter of minutes. The paper copy, for those who order one, generally comes in a week to 10 days. Both versions include some standard information, covering student services and advising, life on campus, financial aid and other key facts.

In addition, either option lets an individual select:

* One or more major areas of academic or technical focus or study.

* One or more student organizations and activities.

* One or more opportunities in GCCC Broncbuster athletics.

Exploring your options

Ordering your free e-brochure is a simple process, since all it requires is the completion of a short online questionnaire.

In addition to inquiring about your interests, of course, we'll also ask for some contact information and a little bit of background data, all designed to help us meet your needs. If you have computer access and an e-mail address, you're eligible.

To the best of our knowledge, GCCC is one of the smallest colleges in the U.S. to launch a project like this to date, and it took us a little longer than expected to get it up and running.

However, in an age when individual attention is of primary importance in meeting the needs of customers and students, I believe our e-brochure is an important step in serving those who want to explore their options on our campus.

There may have been a time when "typical" and "average" were terms that applied pretty well to most of the individuals who enrolled for postsecondary education.

But this is 2009, and we think the range of interests, backgrounds and needs among college students today is probably even more varied than the costumed creatures that will be appearing on your front porch this weekend to shout "trick or treat."

With than in mind, we're hoping that anyone in southwest Kansas who wants to shape his or her future with effective, affordable education will make it a point to step onto our "front porch" at Garden City Community College. Logging onto www.gcccks.edu, and taking advantage of our new e-brochure opportunity, is one more way to do that.

GCCC President Carol Ballantyne may be e-mailed at carol.ballantyne@gcccks.edu.