By Brittany Dekorte
On April 10, I got a large cardboard envelope in the mail, white with big lettering and addressed from Washtenaw Community College. Inside was a green folder, a letter of congratulations, my transcripts and a diploma for completing my ‘liberal arts certification’.
My response was simply, “What?”
I mean, it’s great; except that’s not what I’m going to WCC for. My major is journalism and web development. Before that it was radiography. I didn’t apply for graduation, either, I wasn’t planning on applying for graduation for another year.
I spoke to friends around campus, including people who had been going to WCC just as long or longer than I have, and none of them had heard of this happening before. One friend told me to “Take it and run, don’t ask questions!” And my partner told me it was time to, “Update my resume”.
But I do have questions. For one, how did this happen exactly?
As it turns out, WCC has recently started sending out a ‘Certificate of Liberal Arts Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA)’ to any student who completes the requirements, without needing to apply for the certification, or graduation.
Callie Blanche is one of the graduation technicians at WCC, who I inquired with when I got this certificate in the mail. Blanche explained to me that the school began rewarding the certificates to any student who completed them to make it easier for them to go on to other colleges and universities.
“We began awarding this certificate to students who have completed it because if you choose to go on to another college or university it could be of benefit and then you would not have to come back and request it later. This however, does not mean you are graduating, just that you have completed that certificate. It does not change anything with regard to the degrees or certificates you are pursuing,” Blanche told me.
But what is this piece of paper I got in the mail?
The liberal arts MTA is, according to WCC’s website, a program that “allows students to design a program of study to meet individual needs, and is a good option for students who are undecided about a major, or simply want to explore various areas in the arts and social sciences.” It’s actually an associate degree, and the MTA means it will let you transfer fully and easily to Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Siena Heights University.
To receive the liberal arts MTA certification, a student must complete over 60 credit hours in various classes that fit into the categories of natural sciences, math, humanities, computer literacy, and social science.
Oops. I guess it is time to update my resume.