With Robeson Community College located less than a mile away from Lumberton High School, we have been fortunate to have great access to their different services and resources for students. Coupled with the large interest from students in beginning at a two-year level, this has allowed me to coordinate a variety of events with RCC to provide more information and options to my students that want to go to college. On-site admissions, Career & College Promise program presentations, College Application and FAFSA Workshops, and transfer-program information sessions are most of the activities that I have been able to organize for my students who are two-year bound. I’ve felt that by partnering with this community college, I’m able to better serve my students with affordable and attainable options.
Coming freshly off of my own experience in community college, as well as being a first-generation college graduate, I have a good understanding of these students thought processes’ regarding life after high school. After spending over 13 years in public education, ideas such as “why should I have to pay to go to school now,” or “I’m not as smart as this person who’s going to college” become a commonality. What I remember not knowing as a high school student is the level of financial ownership and academic empowerment that comes from being a community college student. The personal freedom of choosing an interesting class, as well as being financially responsible for class fees and textbooks was encouraging to me as a young adult. However, this is something that I did not learn until a semester into community college. As a college adviser my goal is to help my students become familiar with the lifestyle before they actually begin. Thankfully, I have been able to advocate more for this option by partnering with Robeson Community College.
The Career & College Promise program in particular has been a valuable asset for our current students, as it allows both two-year and four-year bound high school students the opportunity to begin their experience in a college-level classroom while still being enrolled in high school curriculum. RCC isn’t the only two-year option for our students. Many students who want to pursue other technical degrees will look to neighboring community colleges such as Bladen Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College. These niche programs allow students to gain technical skills, while being simultaneously challenged in a college-level curriculum. Some of these technical programs that are popular with my students include Electrical Systems Technology, HVAC Technology, Dental Hygiene, and Certified Nurse Aid. Reaching out to faculty members from these different programs has never been a challenge as a College Adviser, and I would like to see our relationships with these other community colleges grow in order to serve future students.
It excites me to see high school students excited about their future, especially when it comes to my two-year bound students. Community College is an opportunity that accommodates students who may not have the academic or financial assets to begin at a four-year college after high school. At the same time, two-year programs can pave a path for students who want to work in a technical profession. I hope that more advisers will make the extra steps needed to partner with local community colleges, and help the stigma of attending a community college fade away. By connecting high school students to the resources available to them at a North Carolina community college, all students can start to plan for their future.