Mind & Spirit

NWQ Guide to Colleges 2017

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It’s never an easy choice when seeking the perfect college — there are plenty of things to consider. Here are some of the top institutions available here in our region.

McHenry County College

(Public/Two-Year) 8900 U.S. Highway 14 • Crystal Lake • mchenry.edu

Since 1967, McHenry County College (MCC) has been the area’s choice for a high-quality and fully accredited education.

MCC was recently named among Aspen Institute’s top 150 community colleges in the nation, and CNN Money & College Measures reported that MCC is ranked fourth in the state for student success rates and affordability. MCC also was voted a “military friendly” institution by G.I. Jobs magazine.

More than 90 percent of MCC’s full-time faculty hold a master’s or doctorate degree, as do 68 percent of its adjunct instructors. But the heart of MCC is its students, whether they come to start a new educational path, finish a dream that was sidetracked or try something new. Faculty and staff are dedicated to assisting students to succeed, so that they are prepared to move into a new career or transition smoothly to a four-year institution.

This student-focused approach is paying off. According to recent statistics compiled by the Illinois Board of Higher Education for its Illinois Shared Enrollment and Graduation database, MCC students who transfer to a four-year institution do just as well as, or better than, students who started as freshmen.

As part of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), MCC men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics teams have earned 43 conference championships and produced more than 27 NJCAA All-Americans and 12 professional players. In addition, MCC offers on-campus activities and more than 25 student clubs.

The honors group Phi Theta Kappa and the Leadership Education and Development (L.E.A.D.) program help MCC students to develop leadership skills. Through the College Consortium of International Students and the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs, MCC students may participate in study-abroad programs in more than 30 countries. Through service learning, MCC students also learn about civic responsibility while participating in community programs.

From the low student-to-teacher ratio in classes to flexible course offerings, MCC’s focus is always on helping each student to complete his or her degree. The college’s engaging environment stimulates more critical thinking and sharpens decision-making skills, better preparing students for a bright future. Learn what’s new at MCC by following the college on social media at mchenry.edu/social.

Rasmussen College-Rockford

(Private/Two-Year, Four-Year & Graduate)
Aurora/Naperville, Mokena/Tinley Park,
Romeoville/Joliet, Rockford • rasmussen.edu

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college with 22 campuses across the Midwest and Florida, including four campuses in Illinois: Rockford, Romeoville/Joliet, Mokena/Tinley Park and Aurora/Naperville. More than 14,000 students are enrolled in total. Founded in 1900, with the Rockford campus opening in 2006, Rasmussen strives to: provide education for growing careers; impact lives both inside and outside the classroom; and remain dedicated to the growth and development of its students, employees and the communities it serves.

Rasmussen College offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, associate’s degrees, certificates and diplomas in more than 50 programs, including business, justice studies, technology, design, education, nursing and health sciences. It’s committed to helping students gain the practical and relevant skills they need for career success, as well as providing flexible and affordable learning options. One example is Flex Choice, a learning option that allows students to take self-paced, competency-based courses alongside their faculty-led courses. Rasmussen College also provides a classroom experience that includes employer-based internship/externship opportunities, hands-on learning delivered through industry-experienced faculty with real-world insight, and new, technologically advanced learning platforms.

Rasmussen College is committed to providing strong support services that go above and beyond traditional offerings. This includes one-on-one support with a student advisor, free tutoring, and access to hundreds of thousands of free digital resources, such as e-textbooks, scholarly articles and videos. Once students are ready to graduate, the college works closely to connect them with local employers that are hiring. A career services department is available to all students.

As it prepares students for professional success, Rasmussen College instills in them the knowledge and skills they need to better their lives and have a profound influence in their communities. This is what defines Rasmussen College as a Public Benefit Corporation. The College focuses on connecting its students to local employers and expanding community initiatives through business partnerships, workforce insights and service opportunities for its employees.

Northern Michigan University

(Public/Four-Year) 1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, Mich. • nmu.edu

Established in 1899, Northern Michigan University (NMU) has grown and diversified to become a comprehensive educational institution of 8,300 students, with cutting-edge technology initiatives and nationally recognized academic programs.

More than 75 percent of NMU’s 300-plus full-time faculty members have doctorates or the highest degree in their fields. A hallmark of the NMU experience is that full-time faculty members teach at all levels, freshmen through graduate courses.

NMU is the first public university in Michigan dedicated to enhancing students’ learning experience through its Teaching, Learning and Communication Initiative. All full-time students are issued notebook computers as part of their tuition and fees, giving them faster, more complete access to instructors, fellow students – even class notes. President Barack Obama chose NMU as the site to announce his Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative in 2010. He held up Northern’s WiMAX network as a leading example of broadband’s capabilities.

Undergraduates have access to important research opportunities, from testing a new class of drugs that treat attention/memory problems caused by schizophrenia to researching genes that may play critical roles in brain tumor formation and growth. It is one of only two Michigan universities to have an entrepreneurship major, and has one of the few programs in the country for both ski management and wildland firefighting. NMU has programs in 42 of the 50 fastest-growing job occupations from the “Training for Michigan’s Hot Jobs” report, and boasts 90 percent placement rate or higher in numerous programs.

A recent survey revealed that 85 courses in 35 majors employed some aspect of academic service learning methodology. NMU earned the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. NMU students and staff volunteer more than 100,000 hours in the community each year and partner with local organizations through service learning courses.

NMU offers a number of student/faculty exchanges, faculty-led study abroad programs, semester- or yearlong study abroad through partner organizations and international volunteer/internship opportunities. NMU was among 16 U.S. institutions initially granted a license for study abroad programs in Cuba, and the first to go beyond Havana.

Students can explore financial aid opportunities, scholarships and funding options with knowledgable counselors at NMU’s Financial Aid Office. The university also provides accessible student support services, including free counseling and information services, a writing lab, a tutoring lab and an all-campus tutoring program in most areas of study.

NMU student-athletes compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference in 12 sports, six for men and seven for women. In addition, students can participate in about 325 student organizations representing a wide range of academic interests, hobbies, personal interests and causes. Further, NMU has the only residential program at a university that allows athletes to pursue degrees while training for world-class competitions.

At Northern Michigan University, natural curiosity and intellectual challenge meet in stimulating classes grounded in the liberal arts. Wherever curiosity leads them, students can count on the support they need to take the next step, ask the next question and propose the next hypothesis.

Rockford University

(Private/Four-Year) 5050 E. State St. • Rockford • rockford.edu

Rockford University, nestled on 150 park-like acres in the heart of Rockford, marks its 167th year in 2014. It’s the only private liberal arts institution in the Rock River Valley, and the only college in the Rockford area to offer a campus-based accredited MBA degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching.

The philosophy at Rockford University is that a liberal arts education prepares students not only for a solid career, but also for a journey of lifelong learning. Its distinctive degrees and programs are grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented by professional and practical experience.

An education from Rockford University involves challenging and interdisciplinary coursework both inside and outside the classroom. Its students develop critical thinking skills, intellectual curiosity and self-guidance, in order to live within and adapt to a changing global society.

Faculty members, most holding the highest degrees in their disciplines, show a commitment to the individual through their expertise and caring nature. Rockford University offers more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, and students can pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with various licensure and endorsement tracks through the Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Student/faculty research is an important component of the learning environment, and one-on-one learning opportunities abound.

The Princeton Review named Rockford University a “College with a Conscience” in 2005, and for 11 years running, a “Best in the Midwest” college. For five consecutive years, it has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and it is one of just 11 colleges in Illinois – and 283 in the country – with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

Rockford University offers its students many other opportunities to gain knowledge and experience. As part of NCAA Division III, the Rockford Regents compete in 13 men’s and women’s varsity sports. Many social and academic clubs and organizations are offered, along with intramural sports. Each year, the Forum Series presents a variety of thought-provoking speakers, events and performances.

The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement provides many service-learning options, and the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break allows students and faculty to spend their spring break taking part in Habitat for Humanity projects. All such moments open students’ minds to understanding different and complex perspectives, thus ultimately broadening their horizons.

The learning expectations of students – knowledge for understanding the world, values for envisioning the world, and skills for shaping the world – guide the purpose of Rockford University’s academic programs. Thus, the Rockford University experience leads to a life of active learning, personal development, professional growth and informed citizenship.

Rockford University alumni are exemplary leaders and shapers of their communities. Among its graduates are chiefs of police, captains of industry, champions of justice, Teachers of the Year, doctors who tested the first artificial heart valve in humans, scientists who invented fiber optics and LEDs, the current president of a national television network and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jane Addams.

The legacy of Rockford University can be found in nearly two centuries of graduates and more than 16,000 current alumni, taking lessons learned here out into the world.

University of Dubuque

(Private/Four-Year) 2000 University Ave. • Dubuque, Iowa • dbq.edu

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