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Page 76 NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2015 63 We all want our kids to reach their potential and be successful and happy in whatever they do. Sometimes the best way for them to reach that goal is not to go directly to a four-year uni- versity after high school. A community college like Richland College part of the Dallas County Community College Dis- trict might be the best place to start. The public is not always aware of all the benefits of a community college ed- ucation says Donna Walker Associate Vice President of Enrollment Manage- ment and Superintendent of the Rich- land College High School. From the moment a student enrolls the school of- fers a level of personalization you cant always get at a large univer- sity. The faculty and advisors offer a more intimate connectivity as they work with each individual to build their skill set explore job options and determine what certifications or degrees they will need to go out into the work force. Then they help them do just that. First-time college students are encouraged to take career inven- tories offered at Richlands Career Services department. These help identify aspects of your uniqueness and suggest careers stu- dents may not have considered before or even knew about. One student was convinced he wanted to be a computer programmer because it was a lucrative profession but when his career assess- ments revealed how his skills and interests were really not a match at all he was able to revise the focus of his coursework to work toward another better-suited degree. Donna believes The fabulous part of working at Richland is we have students who wouldnt otherwise be able to attend a four- year university. Perhaps a student didnt quite have the focus in high school to have a high enough GPA for UT or Texas AM perhaps they changed schools often during childhood and didnt have continuity in their education so there are gaps in their learn- ing or maybe they just cant afford it. Richland will work with students to help them with study skills and make them aware of what they need to be successful in school. Donna estimates 70 of beginning students need devel- opmental math because they just arent ready for college algebra and so they are able to prepare them for the col- lege-level courses on campus. And you definitely cannot overlook the affordability. Students save thou- sands and thousands of dollars Donna reports and they dont incur the same amount of debt as they would at a larger university for the first two years. Community colleges were created to serve the community and the students represent all walks of life. Donna says The growing un- derserved population is those who may have walked away from education for any number of reasons. Its not too late to go back to gain new skills toward a new career to explore a new interest or to work toward the degree you never got. Richland has the resources to help. by AliciaWanek StaffWriter At Richland College Community is the Key Word goodTO KNOW Formorethan40yearsRichlandCollegehasfocusedonteachinglearn- ing and community building. In recognition of these efforts the White House and the Department of Commerce named Richland a 2005 recipi- ent of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award the only communi- ty college to have received this award. Picturedabovearestudentsinthe CommunityPharmacyClass. RichlandCollegeoffersstudentslivingincontiguouscounties the opportunity to enroll in Richland Collegiate High School RCHS one of the first junior-senior dual credit charter high schools administered by a community college.TheTEA Exem- plary-ratedRCHShascapacityforupto900studentswhomay simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate degree.Picturedrightare2015RichlandCollegeGraduates. PicturedabovearestudentsattheRichlandCollegeInternationalFestival.