Some additional questions and answers

You have arrived on this page because you are interested in some more in-depth questions and answers beyond those in the deck of cards. The questions below were provided by our academic advisors. We hope these help!

Ten common questions parents and students ask advising & counseling.


What is the “best” school for  _________(Major)______________?

Answer: It depends on what is meant by “best” – Cost of education, overall university reputation, program accreditation, safety and beauty of campus, close to home? Meeting with an academic advisor can help with defining what “best” means for each individual.

Where will I be able to find employment after completing my certificate or degree?

Answer: Employability is the chief purpose of North Central’s short-term certificates, certificates of development and occupational associate degrees. Some programs attract recruiters to campus, e.g. nursing, CNC while others offer courses where students can obtain hands-on experience in the workplace. Other programs count on professors who help students contact prospective local employers. Check out the Career Support page on our website for helpful information and support.

Do my credits from North Central transfer?

Answer: Transferability is the chief purpose of North Central’s transfer associate degrees and programs. There are generally 4 types of transfer credit that a university will assign to a North Central course:

Standard courses, e.g. U.S. History or Introduction to Biology, tend to transfer to another college or university as “exact” courses. More “unusual” course titles, e.g. History of Rock and Roll, may transfer as departmental or general elective credit. When a course fails to transfer, it is usually for 1 of 3 reasons:

For a transfer checklist, click here.

What is the most prevalent job the Northern Michigan?

Answer: Rather than prevalent job, it is more useful to look at prevalent “industries.” Hospitality, health care, office services, retail and sales, light manufacturing and human services are prevalent in Northern Michigan. Many of these jobs require education and training beyond high school, and academic advisors and faculty work to create a program of study that will lead to employability in those fields.

How do you fill out the FAFSA?

Answer: The FREE Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is completed online at www.fafsa.gov. The first step is to create an account with password and login. The questions on the application will ask for basic “demographic” information as well as specific items found on federal income tax returns, so it is necessary to have a copy of one’s federal income tax return available for reference. North Central’s financial aid office helps those who have begun answering the questions, yet are unsure of the proper way to answer. Please check out the financial aid information on the North Central website.

Can I take this course/program totally online?

Answer: North Central online courses change with each of the 3 terms, fall-winter-summer. Currently there are no occupational programs offered entirely online, although key courses in early childhood education, business and networking are frequently available either all online or in a hybrid (50% online and 50% face-to-face) format. It is possible to complete the Associate of General Studies (AGS) degree entirely online, but the course choices would be dictated by course availability rather than by the student’s personal learning objectives. Sometimes students will augment their North Central course selections by enrolling in online courses via the Michigan Colleges Online site at www.michigancollegesonline.org. This is a collaborative site that hosts courses and programs from the majority of Michigan community colleges. Courses taken through Michigan Colleges Online can be covered through the student’s federal financial aid package, and once completed, can be transferred back to North Central to count toward program completion.

What is the total cost of my upcoming semester?

Answer: After you have chosen your courses, and created a class schedule for the upcoming semester in your Portal, you will be able to view your total cost using “My Account Information,” one of the several options (including My Financial Aid) available in the Portal. If you would like an estimate prior to enrolling in courses, go to the North Central Cost Calculator, a useful tool that will estimate your total costs dependent on number of contact hours in which you plan to enroll. Be sure to estimate $150 per course for textbooks/supplies.

What is the total cost of my intended program of study?

Answer:  Total cost of embarking on a program of study should take into account tuition and fees, textbooks, special supplies/tools/uniforms, transportation and living costs.  North Central’s Student Consumer Information webpage provides cost information about all certificate programs through the ‘Gainful Employment’ link.  The U.S. Department of Education requires the College to disclose information about certificate programs.

Tuition and fees for North Central programs can be calculated by using the North Central Cost Calculator. When using the cost calculator, input the total contact hours for the program – those contact hours are displayed on each program page of the online North Central catalog.  Allow $150 per course for textbooks (a typical associate degree program is 18 – 20 courses x $150=$2,700 -$3,000).  There may be additional costs (uniform, tools, supplies) obtained by contacting the program’s administrator. Finally, travel to and from the college (estimate classroom attendance 3x/week for four or five 16-week semesters) as well as living costs, round out the total cost of an intended program of study.

Can I complete my program off-campus?

Answer: An academic advisor can tell you if your program goal can be completed without coming to the Petoskey campus. In all, program completion at the Gaylord or Cheboygan sites will be entirely dependent on the individual’s program goal and desired completion date.

How can I find out the courses required for my program?

Answer: The North Central course catalog is the source for this information. The catalog provides a list of courses required for each program and, in the case of occupational programs, provides a suggested sequence for taking courses. The catalog also provides “course descriptions” of all courses so that you can learn about course objectives, contact hours and prerequisites for each course in your program. Additionally, a yearly published “Programs of Study” booklet, given to each new student who attends an orientation session, and available in Student Services, shows the courses required to complete programs.