Well there's a lot of bullshit on here, so let me give you some perspective. You've been reading a lot of reviews on here, right? If you've read up on more that 3 colleges, you've seen a lot of bitching so far, and you are probably sitting there thinking, "are there ANY colleges worth going to??" The answer to that is, "YES."
I'm a non-traditional student: Homeschooler, bad at math, GED. I moved to Prescott from Hawaii (yeah, you read that right) to go to Yavapai College. (Hawaii is incredibly hard to live in and go to school...everything is hella expensive there.)
I made it in to YC, no sweat. Yavapai isn't a hard college to get into, so if you didn't get in, you probably missed something, somewhere.
I thought I would have a really hard time at YC...I thought that because I was such a failure as a high-school student that I would get my ass kicked academically...but I was determined to do my best.
Well, I've done my best, and I've worked my ass of, and guess what? I have a 4.0 GPA--and I earned it. Yes, I did get my ass kicked a few times, but the teachers are incredibly approachable. I've been here five semesters, and I'm about to graduate. I've yet to meet a teacher that was a total jerk. Sure, some are hard, some are easy: that's college ANYWHERE for you. But I felt like each teacher really cared about their students. My hardest English teacher really made me a better writer, and she always had an open door for me to come seek advice. I worked hard for her, and she rewarded that. Other teachers were much the same...the work wasn't "easy mode" all the time, but I found out if I did what the teachers asked, and I put effort into it, I got A grades. Pretty simple huh?
Granted, there are some awful teachers here, but I've lucked out and never gotten one. Asking around helps...everyone knows who the douchebags are. It's a smallerish sized college...play detective and get your facts straight before you register.
Financial aid was easy for me...just do it when they tell you to. Don't fill out your FAFSA in July and expect a full ride for the fall semester starting in August. That's stupid--at any school. I've gotten numerous grants, and a good chunk of my money has nothing to do with my grades.
The financial aid office is a good group of folks...just realize they deal with morons wandering in a week before school starts saying, "So like, I wanna go to school here in a week and I have no money. Help?"
The campus itself is ok. It's not crazy awesome, and it doesn't suck. The Library is a nice study environment. The classes have some very decent technology.
The food is ok...it's not awful, but eating it every day could get old. The kitchen staff are nice though...everyone loves Leo and Flip!
Campus Police are usually retired cops. Yeah, they're bored. But honestly if you just obey the speed limit they don't bother you. I've taken my car and my crotch rocket on campus all the time and they don't give me any trouble.
Hint: If you park for 5 hours in a 30 minute spot, you're in for it. (duh).
The sports teams...the Soccer team is one of the best, but I have pals on many of the teams, and they all tell me the teams are a bit dirty...drugs, etc. There's drug problems in the dorms, but mostly it's just pot. Not that I like pot (I don't--I think it's lame as hell), but at least there's not coke residue on the toilet seats.
The Phys Ed department is great...very decent gym, pool, great dance teachers, etc. Nice sports fields, and it's in a safe part of town. Prescott is a chillaxed place. OK, so there's not much to do, and it's a quasi-retirement town.
Wah. Try going to Flagstaff where it's violent crime central...or UA in that shithole called "Tucson." (I went to Tucson recently...I regretted not taking my handgun with me. That place is so dirty I felt like wearing a rubber just walking around). Prescott is a quiet town. PV is only 20 minutes away (tops) with theatres and more fun stuff. If you are looking for a party school, hit up ASU. If you want an education, come to YC.
All in all I like Yavapai. It actually costs way more than what they charge students...a huge chunk of it is subsidized, so really you are getting way more education that you are paying for. YC is one of the cheapest colleges in the state... and I feel like I've learned a hell of a lot here.
As for the students who hate it...well, usually they're the ones who show up to class late (if at all), hungover, sit in the back, don't take notes, sleep, bitch about everything, and don't do the work. Then they call the teachers "crappy". Show up here with a good attitude, and work your ass off and you'll love it--and you'll probably pull great grades. Some classes I've gotten A's in without a lot of effort. Newsflash: do what the teacher asks, and you got nothing to worry about. If you're looking for a place to just buy a degree...try one of those dodgy online degree mills.
One final thought: Now that I'm applying to schools out of state, I realized how great YC is. YC made it easy and really cheap for me as a Western State Undegrad Exchange (WUE) student to come to YC. I spent maybe 10% over in-state costs...as a Hawaii resident. Yeah, I know, huh?
I've been applying to other schools...I can't even get a call back from the friggin' admin office at some of these schools. Even ASU has been a shining example of idiocy and ineptitude compared to Yavapai. I mean what the hell..is it really that hard? Getting into YC was easy...ASU, Lynn, SLU, ERAU and others have been a massive pain in the ass--just in the preliminary stages! I guess ya don't know how good ya have it till ya have to deal with morons.Anyway. That's my take. YC will be what you make of it...the positives outweigh the negatives, and most students want to be here. That makes for a great class environment, and a great community college. Don't stack YC up next to Stanford...but compared to most Community schools, I think it's pretty damned good. You'll do awesome here...only if you want to.