SCC Is 'Gateway' to University Admission
As the number of college applicants steadily rises and the competition for a slot as a freshman at a four-year college or university is fiercer than ever, more students are not being accepted into the four-year school of their choice.
The open-doorpolicy at Sandhills Community College coupled with seamless university transfer arrangements changes earning a bachelor's degree from a dream to a reality.
"It makes dollars and sense to attend Sandhills and prepare for transfer to a four-year college or university," says Linda Chandler, University Studies coordinator. "We want to let students who might have thought previously that they could not qualify for admission or that they could not afford the cost of attendance know that Sandhills is the perfect choice."
According to data collected in 2009, the number of freshman applications received compared with the number of those admitted ranges from 21 to 59 percent. This means that the large numbers of those not admitted into schools such as Duke University (79 percent), East Carolina University (41 percent), North Carolina State University (44 percent), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (65 percent) and Western Carolina University (56 percent) are faced with re-evaluating their educational plan.
"Sandhills Community College provides students and their families another tool for planning a tremendous higher education program," Chandler says. "Students are able to enjoy the financial advantage of lower tuition in a quality learning environment and then a smooth transition to the University of North Carolina university of their choice. Sandhills is the gateway to opportunity."
In addition, students who attend Sandhills and then transfer to a four-year university save thousands of dollars. The college offers a superior education for about one-fifth of the national average tuition of a four-year public university and a small fraction of the tuition of a private university.
Students can take advantage of low tuition, small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio, which are qualities often lacking in the larger university freshman and sophomore college courses. All Sandhills instructors who teach courses that transfer hold at least a master's degree. They are not graduate students who assist professors as teaching assistants.
A large majority of Sandhills students qualify for and receive academic and need-based scholarships. Sandhills attracts high school graduates who are ranked at the top of their class.
The Sandhills Scholars Scholarship provides four $1,000 scholarships to students in the top 15 percent of their class from Pinecrest, Union Pines, North Moore and Hoke County high schools. These students must maintain a 3.5 grade-point average (GPA).
The William Halley Smith and Edith Thomas Smith Scholarship provides scholarships of $1,500 to first-year students. They must be a graduate in the upper 20 percent of a Moore County school (public or private) and must maintain a 2.5 GPA. The A.A. Vanore Endowed Scholarship awards $750 to a first-year student who is a graduate of North Moore High School, is ranked in the top one-third of the class and enrolls in nursing, health science or pre-med.
"The total amount of scholarships we will award in the upcoming academic year is over $100,000 more than we awarded last year," says Lynn Lupei, scholarship coordinator at Sandhills. "This year, Sandhills has awarded $263,264 in scholarships to over 300 students. We had 59 high school applicants. Of these, eight had earned a GPA of 4.0. Six were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class, and 16 were in the top 25 percent of their class.
"For the 2011-2012 academic year, we have already had 50 applications. Of these, eight students are in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, and 13 are in the top 25 percent.
"Because of the generosity of our donors, we are able to provide scholarships to such deserving students."
Lupei also says 11 students qualified for the Tech Prep Scholarship for the current academic year. This scholarship is for students who attend Sandhills and have an 85 or better high school cumulative grade-point average but do not qualify for any federal Pell Grant assistance.
Students who attend Sandhills Community College and then transfer to a four-year college or university have an outstanding record of success. According to the N.C. Community College System's 2009 Critical Success Factors, 82 percent of Sandhills students who earned an associate transfer degree were in good academic standing after two semesters at the university. This is comparable to the students who began there as freshmen.
Transfer students make up at least 25 percent of students who complete a bachelor's degree.
The University Studies Program at Sandhills Community College provides opportunities for students to complete coursework that will transfer as baccalaureate credit to four-year colleges and universities. By completing courses in the arts and sciences, students can earn associate in arts, associate in science or associate in fine arts degrees. These degrees are designed to prepare students to continue their education as juniors in their field of study.
By completing the 44-semester-hour general education core, students can earn the transfer core diploma in arts or in science.
Sandhills complies with the 1997 Comprehensive Articulation Agreement between the N.C. Community College System and the University of North Carolina system. This agreement establishes college transfer courses, degrees and policies that are accepted by all 58 community colleges and all 16 UNC colleges and universities. Students who complete degree requirements and are admitted to a UNC university will have certain guarantees that credits earned will transfer.
Anyone needing information about the University Studies Program at SCC can contact Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 695-3961.
Karen Manning is the director of marketing and public relations for Sandhills Community College.
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