With 2010 now under way across southwest Kansas, and 2009 entering the history books, the new year that arrived a few days ago promises to bring almost everyone a combination of challenges and opportunities.

New years always do, of course, and some of the most significant opportunities just might arrive hand-in-hand with chances or changes that haven't even been anticipated yet.

One important opportunity, however, involves education, and at Garden City Community College, we don't think there's anything else that prepares people more effectively to handle challenge and capitalize on change.

Now open for registration

If you're thinking about taking advantage of the educational opportunities we provide at GCCC, we hope you'll stop by the campus in the days just ahead, because we can help southwest Kansans:

build essential abilities

advance to their college degrees

master the skills it takes to succeed in a job or career

enrich life through the process of learning

benefit through workforce development.

We re-opened the campus Monday, at the conclusion of the holiday season, and we're open now for spring semester enrollment.

With the exception of Jan. 11, when we'll be closed all day for employee inservice sessions to kick off the term, registration for daytime or evening classes is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Spring term classes are scheduled to start on Jan. 13.

The place to go for enrollment, or just find out more, is the GCCC Student and Community Services Center, the tall building on the east side of the campus, just in off of Campus Drive.

Career learning and life enrichment

We have literally hundreds of classes on the schedule, and a lot of them are designed specifically to help people who want to boost their job or career prospects, such as Information Technology Essentials, classes in the health care field, and courses in everything from firefighting to welding.

Others were arranged to satisfy men and women of all ages who simply want to explore new horizons, and that includes several dozen courses offered during the evening, ranging from Creative Writing at basic and advanced levels, to Introduction to Literature, to a long list of others.

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 SCSC, 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. through Thursday, so there's still time to call. You're eligible to use it if you've applied or taken a course from GCCC anytime in the past 17 years.

Success and affordability

At GCCC, we offer more than six-dozen majors and programs, taught by a corps of highly qualified faculty personnel, backed by individual tutoring and assistance. In fact, grade reports show that GCCC transfer students equal or outperform their university classmates.

Meanwhile, you'll find students from age 17 to well past 80 attending GCCC to complete credit classes, non credit Business and Industry Institute courses, non credit life enrichment classes, and Adult Education programming that ranges from GED learning to English as a Second Language.

In addition, there's the advantage of affordability. Tuition rates at public universities across the state range from almost $100 to well over $200 per credit hour for 2010, while GCCC tuition is still just $43 per credit hour. That's higher education and lower cost.

We've been opening the doors to opportunity for 90 years, and they're open again right now at GCCC.