York Technical College
"With traditional colleges, you're just a number in a classroom. With technical college, you're a person, not a number."
I grew up in Chester, South Carolina. I was homeschooled for a majority of my middle school and high school experience. When I was in high school, I debated which college would be best for me when I graduated. I got accepted at the College of Charleston, but during the last couple of months of high school, my grandmother got really sick and I didn’t want to be three hours away.
I ultimately decided to start out with classes in Chester, because it was close to home. My mom went to York Tech to get her certificate for medical billing and coding, so I had some familiarity with the school. It was also much more affordable compared to Charleston. More importantly, it allowed me the opportunity to get an education while staying close to my grandmother while she was sick.
This is the story of my journey.
I set my sights on the radiology tech program from the start. York Tech was the closest college that offered it, and they also have a 99% job placement rate once you complete the program. My cousin had done the same program at York and she loved it. She said that she felt really prepared by the program, and that even though it was a technical college, she had a great experience. That really motivated me to take a step forward with York.
How did the 99% placement rate impact your decision?
That was big for me, because a majority of the colleges that I was looking into didn’t have placement rates that high. Due to the experience that York students get and the hands-on knowledge they gain, they’re prepared for the workforce before they’ve even finished the program. That was an eye-opener for me because you hear so many stories about how people study something, graduate and then can’t find a job.
What’s a stigma people hold about technical college and what would you like to say to them?
For some reason, people seem to think that technical colleges don’t teach you like a “regular college,” and that you’re not going to gain the experience and knowledge you would at a four-year school. Friends in high school tried to persuade me to take a chance and go to Charleston. They thought if I went to technical college I would miss out on the “college experience” and the instruction wouldn’t be as good. I’ve found both of these things to be untrue.
At York Tech, my tuition was a lot less than a four-year traditional college. I had a great experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is preparing me for everything I will need to know in the future. Where my friend is paying $10,000 for just a semester at a four-year, traditional college, I may pay $4,000. I feel like I’m getting the same experience, if not better, through the technical college.
What have you had to overcome on your journey?
The main obstacle was a fear of not actually completing the program. In Chester, there are so many stories of students starting a program and then not finishing. The same thing is true within my family. I have cousins who started college, but didn’t push through to complete their goal. I didn’t want to end up like that. I will admit there were a couple of tough times during my times at York Tech, but with the help of the staff, teachers and friends, I was able to push through.
Second year was rough, because that was when everything was going downhill for me. I had some problems at home. I was struggling with some of my classes. I didn’t really want to reach out for help, but at the recommendation of my anatomy and physiology teacher, I decided to get some tutoring help. That was the help I needed to pass the class, which motivated me to continue on. It was actually because of her that I became a student ambassador at York Tech.
That experience also helped me become more connected to the college and the community. Since then, I have joined several different clubs. I’m a member of PTK and a member of the multicultural club. I’m the secretary of the Christian Fellowship Club and Chapter President of the National Society of Leadership & Success.
What did you learn about yourself along the way?
I’m excited to see what my next steps will be. I’m excited about what my future might hold. Overall, I have learned that even though I might face some obstacles that look very challenging, if I just keep my head up and stay strong, I can push through anything. I have not met a challenge yet that I haven’t overcome. I’ve learned that I don’t give up, I just keep on.
What’s one of your fondest memories of York Tech?
York Tech is like a very tight family. Everyone knows everyone. People stop to talk to you as you walk down the halls. My grandmother passed away last year, and that was one of my toughest times. My friends, professors and fellow ambassadors rallied together to support me and keep my spirits and motivation lifted. That was such a meaningful experience.
With traditional colleges, you’re just a number in a classroom. With technical college, you’re a person, not a number. They know you. They know your background. They know your goals. It’s an experience personalized to work for you.
What advice do you have for others considering the next step in their journey?
Don’t take everyone else’s word about technical college. Like I said, I had a bunch of people tell me that technical college wouldn’t stack up to a traditional university. Don’t listen to that. Don’t be motivated by the false fear that you’re not going to get a good education. Take the chance. If you feel like you want to go to a technical college, go for it. You’ll be surprised at the outcome.