For some students it can take some bouncing around before finding their path in life.
That was the story for Arturo Garcia. He graduated from Reagan High School in 2010 and set his sights straight on enrolling at a local university.
“Community college wasn’t originally on my radar. Everyone at high school told me to apply to university. I didn’t have a middle-of-the-road option.I didn’t know there was something out there for people like me who needed a little extra help.”
Garcia dropped out of school stating he wasn’t prepared for university right out of high school. Instead, he went to work while he figured out what he wanted. During that gap time, he enrolled in another college before finding his home at Austin Community College.
“This is my third time being enrolled in higher education, so I told myself I am going to buckle down and get this done.” The father of two found a way to balance his family, work, and school life to discover his passion with environmental science.
“I am very proud of myself for having completed my associates at ACC. I feel like it is a milestone, not just for myself but for my whole family. Being a first-generation American, it opens the doors, not just to myself but to my brothers. I feel like I can become a better mentor to them and to my community, just by having completed this milestone.”
Garcia says he left ACC feeling better prepared and ready to take on the universities that were once overwhelming to him. “It is way different then when I first applied. I actually feel like I am ready to make that jump.”
Some students need extra time to prepare for a four-year university, and a stop at Austin Community College District gives skills needed to transfer.
“As a first-generation college student, I was struggling with where to go. ACC was such a big part of our community. I earned six credits while still in high school. I thought it would be best to transition into university by enrolling at ACC to learn what college was all about.”
Chelsea enrolled as a communications major but found a new passion. “My parents told me it was okay to explore. The convenience and affordability at ACC allowed me to try different classes. It helped me understand (that) it’s okay to try something new.”
That is exactly what happened to Chelsea, who says a psychology class changed her path. “During my time, I learned how to study, take notes, and learn. It also gave me time to learn what I wanted from a four-year university.” Chelsea says the smaller class sizes and professors knowing her name was exactly what she wanted when she transferred.
“Southwestern University in Georgetown only has a 44 percent acceptance rate. As long as I met the GPA requirements, that turns into 100 percent thanks to a transfer agreement with ACC. I also kept all my credits when I transferred.”
Chelsea stayed on track and earned her bachelor’s degree and accepted her first job as a hiring manager at one of the top tech companies in Austin.
For more information about transfer opportunities at ACC, visit austincc.edu/transfer.