Emily Swartout has already applied to SUNY Broome, eager to join the college’s competitive Dental Hygiene program. On Nov. 20, fellow members of Windsor Central High School’s Class of 2020 joined her as prospective Hornets, part of the new College Express Partnership between the two schools.
As a result, every single member of Windsor’s senior class has a direct path to college, as well as access to free learning workshops on topics such as scholarships, financial aid and more, whether or not they choose to attend SUNY Broome.
“You are the very first high school class in SUNY Broome’s history to be admitted to college, every single one of you. No other high school in the region has this opportunity,” said SUNY Broome Vice President of Academic Affairs Penny Haynes, a SUNY Broome alumna herself. “That makes you all trailblazers and pioneers. You have to admit that’s a pretty great start to your future!”
The College Express Partnership provides multiple benefits to Windsor students, whether they choose to attend SUNY Broome or pursue other avenues. Not only are they instantly admitted, but they are instantly accepted – and can access advanced academic advising, college readiness workshops, placement assessment sessions and career counseling.
“We want to make sure that when you graduate SUNY Broome, you are confident as to your next steps,” said Interim Admissions Director Maja Szostak. “I’ve looked at all of your transcripts, and all of you are college material.”
Access for all
This partnership exemplifies both the community college mission of making a high-quality, affordable college education accessible to everyone, and the school district’s goal of making sure every student is future-ready.
While SUNY Broome is a familiar option for many students, access to education – not only higher education — wasn’t always a given, reflected Windsor Central School District Superintendent Jason Andrews, also a SUNY Broome Trustee. In the time of Dr. Andrews’ grandparents, many students could only expect to graduate from the eighth grade at a one-room schoolhouse seven miles up the road. In his parents’ day, a high school diploma was enough to land a good job and as far as most people went.
College was more common for his generation of students, but remained tied to economic status, he explained. “When I went to school, there were haves and have-nots. We were selected early on – who was really college ready and who was not,” he said.
The partnership essentially removes this division. “When you go to the Windsor Central School District, everyone has the opportunity to go on to higher education,” he said.
Dr. Andrews acknowledged that students may already have post-graduation plans, but life has a way of changing directions. Graduates may head to their out-of-state dream school, and then long for home. Or, they may enter the workforce directly, and then decide to go to college. Whatever they decide, their options remain open at SUNY Broome.
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Learning about SUNY Broome
While students may be familiar with Broome as both affordable and close to home, they may not realize the breadth of opportunities that await them, noted Dr. Haynes. These include challenging academic programs, such as the Honors program and the AA1 and AS1 options, which allow students to earn their degree in a single year, and study abroad options, applied learning experiences, research opportunities and internships. SUNY Broome students regularly transfer to highly competitive schools – including Cornell – and succeed, she said.
Students looking to transition into the workforce can polish their resumes, hone their interview skills and connect with regional job opportunities at the Center for Career Development – and even receive a few professional outfits for free through the Career Closet. Those who hit obstacles during the pursuit of their goals can take advantage of the college’s robust academic support services, including free tutoring, a Math Lab and the Writing Center.
Lisa Schappert from the Broome Community College Foundation outlined the array of scholarships available, including the full-tuition Presidential Honors Scholarship, while Student Activities Director Jason Boring introduced students to the SUNY Broome outside the classroom and the variety of interesting clubs and activities. In addition to traditional academic transcript, the college also offers a co-curricular transcript, a record of students’ campus activities, which can make them more marketable to transfer schools or even the workforce.
He also tossed out some SUNY Broome bling – and proved to members of the Black Knights football team that he shouldn’t quit his day job for professional sports.
Windsor students charted their course by using the college’s free Career Coach tool, which outlines career options and prospective majors based on interest. Laptops in hand, they applied to SUNY Broome right in their high school auditorium – and were accepted, receiving certificates at the end of the event.
“I think it’s exciting for students because they know they have another home away from home. They can go 10 minutes away and learn,” said Emily, who has already visited campus during Open House and toured campus, including the Dental Hygiene lab facilities.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people it’s one of the best programs in the area. It’s one of the toughest but people have told me that I can do it,” she said of her chosen field.