College Community Connection: Back to School

College Community Connection

Fall is in the air, and students are back to work. The hallways at Southside Virginia Community College teem with a mix of new and familiar faces as faculty members guide students who are taking the next steps along their education pathways.

Some familiar faces are absent, however. Last year’s graduates have moved on. Some entered the workforce and some are walking different halls, continuing their academic pursuits at other institutions. Follow-up surveys of graduates indicate that more than half of SVCC students use their time at the community college to prepare for transfer to a four-year, baccalaureate-awarding institution.

One former student, for example, continued his studies through the Art Institute’s Game Design program. He is now working full time as a game developer for a company in Florida. A recent graduate from the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia is currently enrolled in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. SVCC graduates, including former dually enrolled students and traditional college students, are attending Virginia Tech, Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Radford, George Mason, VCU, VSU, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, Mary Baldwin, Hampden-Sydney, Ferrum, Lynchburg College, Liberty, Longwood, Clemson, University of North Carolina, Spelman …. The list goes on and on.

Matt Dunn, a transfer counselor, explains some of the benefits of beginning a postsecondary education path at a community college, “When it comes to successfully completing a bachelor’s degree, transfer students have a higher graduation rate.” He also notes, “All of the community colleges in Virginia have agreements with most of the state’s public and private four-year colleges and universities. In addition to these, SVCC maintains agreements with others. With sufficient GPA, in-state acceptance is virtually guaranteed at public and private colleges in the state.” This is because graduates who earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree and meet minimum grade point averages, which are set individually by the receiving institution, are guaranteed to be accepted as long as they meet application deadlines. Furthermore, they receive junior-class status, which satisfies all lower level general education requirements.

During their time at SVCC, Dunn says students learn about a variety of topics and discover the niches they find most satisfying. “They use their time here to cultivate and grow their interests. Students investigate college and career pathway options aligned with their strengths and personalities. Some discover aptitudes in areas they never previously explored.”

For students interested in transferring to four-year institutions, SVCC offers one-on-one or group transfer counseling, four-year college campus fairs and visits, and membership in the Transfer Club.  For more information on how to effectively streamline your educational journey and maximize your potential future opportunities, contact Matt Dunn, Transfer Counselor, at 434-736-2020 or matt.dunn@southside.edu.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.