As college freshmen plan out their academic futures, deciding what degree to get — or whether to get a degree at all — may not be so easy.
Studying at Salt Lake Community College gives students a lot of options, most of which prepare students to go to Utah universities.
“The purposes of the associate degree and the certificates, are to transfer to a four-year school,” says Transfer Center advisor Michael Atkinson. “Both the degree and the certificate blanket clears all the general education requirements at most of the four-year universities here in-state.”
A general education certificate of completion is all about general education classes. This certificate is designed to let students work towards an associate degree at SLCC or transfer to a university.
Additionally, students who fall short of completing an associate degree can still get this certificate.
A student who completes all Gen Ed coursework for a two-year degree can obtain a general education certificate that fulfills the lower-level Gen Ed requirements for a bachelor’s degree.
“Getting a certificate of completion is great,” says general studies major Dave Cook. “It makes college a lot cheaper since I can pay for half of my education at half the price of every other school.”
Certificates of completion are also available in a variety of programs at SLCC. Students take mostly program-specific classes along with a few general education courses. The school specific certificates are usually meant to train students on career specific skills.
Not every area of study allows for a certificate of completion. The SLCC course catalog lists all the programs available for students to receive a certificate.
While many students choose to get a certificate of completion, many students want more experience and knowledge before transferring.
If students have already decided on a major, an associate degree gives them the chance to focus on their chosen field.
“A certificate of completion gives a student the minimum amount of information needed to transfer to another school,” says Atkinson. “If a student knows that they are going to go into a specific field, the specific associate degree is a better choice. You still take care of the general education requirements but you learn a lot more about a specific field of study.”
An associate degree requires at least 61 credit hours to complete. The extra 30 hours will be classes directly related to a specific course of study.
“I’m really glad I got my associate degree from SLCC,” says business major Gary Meyer. “I transferred to the U of U with my associate degree, and when I got up there, I felt way more prepared. Many of the other students in my classes came up as freshmen, and they didn’t seem as ready for the business classes we were taking.”
For students who are unsure of how to begin their college experience should visit with an academic advisor.
Advisors are stationed at the Jordan, South City and Taylorsville Redwood campuses to answer questions for students.
“I spent a year and a half ‘floating’ in school,” says accounting major Melissa Johnston. “I wasted a lot of time taking general classes not knowing what I wanted to do. The best thing I did was meet with an advisor. It wasn’t until then that I finally figured out what I wanted to do, and I graduated six months later.”
SLCC regularly hosts advisors and recruiters from in-state universities throughout the year. These transfer events give students a chance to learn about university-level courses, application standards and other college information.
To learn more about these events or the college transfer process, students may contact the Transfer Center at 801-957-4978.