Collin College offers pre-admissions for four-year programs
The universities participating in the pre-admissions program at Collin College are Austin College, Baylor University, Dallas Baptist University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University, The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of North Texas. For information, visit www.collin.edu
Until recently, earning a four-year degree has not been possible in Collin County. By partnering with one college and nine universities, Collin College has created a way for students to earn a bachelor's degree closer to home.
The community college that has been serving Collin County for more than 20 years saw a need for students who wanted to continue their education.
“You get admitted with us and can get pre-admitted with the university you want,” said Cary Israel, president of Collin College. “We have partnered with the college and universities that offer a great variety in degrees, and the student goes straight to the university once they have completed the agreed-upon requirements, no matter what percent they graduated in their class.”
This is different than the articulation program Collin College offers through the Collin Higher Education Center in McKinney, which gives students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's, master’s or even a doctorate through five select universities at the CHEC building. Faculty members from each university teach classes there, and students can earn a degree without having to leave the county.
“The pre-admit program is a win-win for everyone involved,” Israel said. “First and foremost, the student wins because a lot of these universities only accept the top 10 percent in a class. This program allows any student who wants to go to that university a chance to have their four-year degree from there, even though they technically went to Collin College for their first two years.”
Each university partner offers special benefits to pre-admission students by giving added benefits that vary by institution, but all students participating in this program will receive priority registration, access to university libraries, individualized advising, student rates for campus activities, university ID, transfer scholarships and guaranteed tuition.
The students enter into an official agreement with the university at the time of pre-admission, which explains all the requirements for the program. Once the students complete their basics at the college, they move directly to taking classes from the university to complete the degree of their choice.
“The university partnership provides a clear path for success,” Israel said. “We know that if a student follows the educational plan, they will stay with the respective university and they will succeed in a timely fashion.”
Israel also points out that the pre-admission program will also benefit the county as a whole, because the college is providing a way for more of the county’s population to become educated.
Another point Israel makes is about the time savings involved, which will ultimately save the student thousands of dollars.
“The typical four-year degree is not a four-year degree anymore,” Israel said. “It’s more like five years; but with the pre-admits there is a clear path in regard to the courses you need. And if you follow it as a full-time student, you should absolutely be able to obtain a four-year degree in four years,” said Israel. “The pre-admit also allows the student to attend Collin and enter small-size classes [30 or less] and acclimate themselves to the collegiate environment rather than being in some freshmen classes that have hundreds of students.”
About 57 percent of first-time students seeking a bachelor's degree and attending a four-year institution full-time in 2001–02 completed a bachelor's degree at that institution within six years, according to a report from the National Center for Educational Statistics found at nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2010/section3/indicator21.asp.
Tom Snyder, spokesperson for the NCES, said the center has not compiled an average time to degree in many years, but noted that they produce an annual percentage of the students who graduate within six years.
“For those who did not interrupt their studies for six or more months, the average time to degree was 55 months,” Snyder said. “If the 'stop-outs' were included, the figure would be higher. So it is possible the figure you are citing includes 'stop-outs.'”
Since the economy is in a recession, the president mentioned the financial savings involved and how the program positively affects participants.
“Debt is a big deal. We’re in a recession, so the savings is a huge advantage point,” Israel said. “We can’t provide the residential experience that they would get at the university if they went as a freshman, but we can guarantee a timed degree which offsets the cost, provides a small-class setting, and we give parents the opportunity to say their kid graduated from the university where they may not have had that chance without this program.”
Collin College offers the lowest tuition in the state. The cost of tuition and books for one year at Collin College is estimated at $2,369, compared to the University of Texas at Dallas at $11,540 or Southern Methodist University at $35,960. These figures do not include housing, because the idea of the true savings is for the student to live at home with their parents. The University of Texas in Austin has an estimated cost of tuition, books and room and board for one year in the amount of $19,682, so the savings is quite substantial.
“Another financial benefit are the many scholarships our students receive upon entering the university after they have completed their basics here,” Israel said. “We may have at any given time two to three full-ride scholarships awarded per university each year, so after the student or parents save the thousands of dollars by following the path, they have an opportunity to have the rest of the costs taken care of.”
Ben Pogue, CEO of Pogue Construction, went to Collin College and transferred to a university.
“I actually did not go through the pre-admit program, but I do think it's a great idea. This is an opportunity for students to not only get college credit early but also begin focusing on their collegiate opportunities sooner,” Pogue said. “I know for myself that at the time I had difficulties focusing on the right priorities. This will enable them to plan ahead for their future faster.”
The universities participating in the pre-admission program at Collin College are Austin College, Baylor University, Dallas Baptist University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University, The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of North Texas. For information, visit www.collin.edu.
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