JAMESTOWN, N.C. — For high school juniors and seniors like Sarah Oakley, the Career and College Promise Program at Guilford Technical Community College is a great opportunity.
She heard about it when she was a sophomore and decided to give it a try as a junior. She says once she took a few classes she fell in love with the program and wanted to take more.
Now a senior at Southwest Guilford she has plans to continue her education next year at N.C. State University. Not only will she have the experience of taking college classes under her belt, but she’ll have two years of credits that will transfer too.
“It’s definitely helped me grow a lot academically, but a lot in my confidence with doing school and just being prepared to do the workload that’s going to be required at N.C. State,” Oakley said. “So I’m really excited.”
Linda Whitlow is the liaison for students who want to participate. She says the college pathways is only half of what is offered. There’s also a career and technical pathway that can lead students to jobs after graduation.
“We have almost 40 technical pathways that high school students can enroll in,” Whitlow said. “We’ve got everything from welding, culinary, aviation, we’ve got business pathways, we’ve got health information technology. So there’s a lot of great pathways. And when students enroll in these, they can graduate with a certificate and they’ve got some skills that they can go ahead and go to work right away.”
One of the best things about the program is it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Students can take as many classes as they want to get a feel of the program.
“I think a lot of times the high school students, when they go to college, they don’t realize that it is different,” Whitlow said. ” And so they can come into this program. They can take one class if they want to, two classes, whatever works with their high school schedule. So they do get to spear experience that academic rigor of the classes while they’re still in high school and not do it all at once.”
Tuition is free. All students pay for is their books and fees. If they decide to go on to a four-year university in North Carolina, their credits transfer. That can add up to a lot of savings.
“They save a ton of money,” Whitlow said. “If you think about when you go to a four-year university and you’ve got room for meals, they save a bunch of money.”