Welsh score a perfect seven
The north-coast college, which has nearly 11,000 full-time students, received straight grade ones - the highest possible - in the seven core areas assessed by Estyn, the Welsh inspectorate.
It is the first time any Welsh college has been awarded the top grade for effective leadership and management, and for improving quality and standards.
Amid a glowing report, the inspection team marked the college down only slightly in its applied science programme, which was given a grade two.
Only a handful of the 500 or so FE colleges in the UK hold a grade one for leadership and management. Huw Evans, principal, said: "This is a performance built on years of continuous improvement, hard work, dedication and commitment. It is this commitment that makes the difference between good and outstanding results."
The inspectors found that the "rigorous pursuit of excellence underpins all aspects of the work of the college". They also reported that the "ethos of the college is one where learners are valued and supported in an inclusive learning environment".
They said the college, based in Rhos-on-Sea, Conwy, had a strong governing body that represented a wide range of stakeholders. The level of up-to-date online quantitative data, which enabled staff to concentrate on managing improvements, was also praised.
Inspectors indicated the college could further improve by encouraging more learners to stay in education and planning ahead for when European funding declines.
John Graystone, chief executive of fforum, the national organisation representing the Welsh FE sector, said: "The college is an example of the FE sector at its best, in terms of both the variety of courses on offer and the consistency achieved across the board, from A-levels to foundation degrees."