Jeremy Ray

Traverse City

Jeremy lost his job in a local manufacturing company in 2009. He wanted to go to Northwestern Michigan College, but didn't have the academic skills to get started. His math skills were at the 4th grade level, but the Adult Education Learning Labs at Northwest Michigan Works! helped him increase those skills so he was able to move on to college. He is now attending NMC in the Computer Information Technology program. "It's your future, and you should grab ahold of it and go forward and not fear. You should be helping yourself and people are here to help you."

What It Takes

To be ready for college, you must have the skills necessary to enroll and succeed in a credit bearing general education courses in a postsecondary institution without remediation. 

It is important to understand that just passing the GED doesn’t mean that you are prepared for college.  Studies have shown that scores in the 600+ are needed to be successful.     


College readiness is determined with a college placement test.  In Northwest Michigan, the local colleges use the COMPASS® Test. The COMPASS® computer-adaptive college placement test will:

  • Evaluate your skill levels in Reading, Writing, Writing Essay and Math.
  • Scores will place you in the appropriate courses based on each individual college's assignments.


If you have been out of school for a while, it is important to know that a little remediation can go a long way to help you eliminate the need for the college remedial classes. You can take the COMPASS® test at any local Northwest Michigan Works! Service Center.   After taking the test, you will be provided with the cut-off scores for the college that you plan on attending.  If you see that you will need to take remedial courses, you can register in a Northwest Michigan Works! Learning Lab to complete a review of the skills you are missing.  You can then take the 2nd COMPASS® test to re-evaluate your skill levels.   Information on the COMPASS®  test can be found by clinking on the following link


Also important to note is basic computer and word processing skills are needed to be successful in college. 

Click here for a great site to get some basics in Computers, Reading and Math.

Click here for the Michigan Education Library (MEL) for test preparation, computer skills and much more!

Don't forget---typing is a necessary skill for almost all your college classes. Click here for a typing check tool

Think you know your Microsoft Office?  Click here to take a quick skills test.  Don't be misled by the website title, it's for everyone!