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School Spotlight: Northwest Iowa Community College

School Spotlight: Northwest Iowa Community College
Emily Toffelmire

Written by Emily Toffelmireon August 23rd, 2021

I came to College Coach after working for many years in college admissions and high school counseling. As a school counselor, I assisted students in the college application process and wrote hundreds of letters of recommendation, while also helping them and their families cope with any emotional, social, and academic concerns throughout the year. I transitioned from the high school setting to the admissions office when I joined the University of Southern California as an assistant director, reading freshmen and transfer applications and collaborating on admission decisions for over 150 majors, including the liberal arts, engineering, business, cinema, and the fine and performing arts. I subsequently took on the role of senior assistant director in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where I coordinated the division's Mork, Stamps, Trustee, Presidential and Dean's merit scholarship selection process, as well as recruitment publications and outreach, and traveled everywhere from Honolulu to Miami presenting to and interviewing hundreds of applicants each year.
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There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. And while the media tends to focus on just a handful of schools, we at College Coach encourage students to think outside the box during their college selection process and explore a wide range of colleges. As such, we are highlighting a new college each week in our School Spotlight series. Check out the college below, along with the other posts in our series, and you may just stumble upon your dream school! School Spotlight: Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, Iowa Northwest Iowa Community College has racked up multiple accolades over the last several years and is regularly recognized as one of the highest performing community colleges in the U.S. In 2020, the Brookings Institute named NWICC the best community college in the nation for middle class mobility, and Forbes recognized it as among the top trade schools bridging the skills gap. (The criteria for the latter: “technical and career colleges with high-earning alumni, stand-out graduation and retention rates, and respectable debt repayment scores.") NWICC offers both vocational technical programs and arts and sciences courses for those planning to transfer to four-year universities. Students can earn an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, or Associate of General Studies degree. Diplomas are awarded to students who complete yearlong career/technical programs, and competency certificates are also issued for various technical and career subject areas. Here’s just a sampling of the areas of study available: animal science, criminal justice, elementary education, accounting, IT specialist, web and graphic design, radiologic technology, nursing, heavy equipment operation, industrial and commercial wiring, and diesel technology. Many of NWICC’s degree, diploma, and certificate options are also offered online or via a hybrid model. Additionally, in collaboration with a statewide development group, NWICC administers workforce training programs in areas including AutoCAD, blueprint reading, metal fabrication, and computer and electrical vocations. NWICC is one of the smaller community colleges in Iowa, which means smaller classes and easy access to professors; the student to teacher ratio is 13:1. The Learning Center provides free tutoring, a computer lab, study rooms, and is also the place where students with 504’s or IEP’s can ensure their needs are being met. Once-a-semester meetings with an academic advisor are mandatory for all students, and NWICC has a robust career services program that offers career counseling, resume evaluation, and interview tips, as well as a bank of job listings. NWICC boasts a 95% job placement rate for it graduates, and the college’s Placement Office offers lifetime assistance to alumni seeking jobs. NWICC is primarily a commuter campus, but there is housing, and about 8% of students call the campus home, living in four housing complexes that offer apartment and suite living. Residents have access to lounges, study spaces, and recreation options like pool and ping pong. Campus also features a well-stocked and well-staffed library, plus an on-campus cafeteria available to all students and staff. NWICC is located in Sheldon, Iowa, a small town of 5,550 residents, and home to the popular Sheldon Recreational Trail. While the town is relatively quiet, Sioux Falls and Sioux City are equidistant from Sheldon, each at about 60 miles away, and a weekend trip to Omaha will take you about five hours round trip. Visit the website to learn more about applying to Northwest Iowa Community College as well as paying for your education at NWICC. Image Credit: Top, Courtesy of Northwest Iowa Community College Getting the Most Out of a College Visit


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