By Becca Carlson
Given the recent School.com ranking of third best public state colleges in Florida, it’s no surprise that Pensacola State College has many student success stories. The school strives to provide services that allow students to succeed and continue on their academic paths.
Affordability and student services
Tracey Squaire, a PSC Journalism alumni, is one of those successful students. She utilized support services during her time at the college and while transferring and believes that PSC services and affordability were crucial to her success.
“My sister told me about [financial aid] and encouraged me to take advantage of the opportunities available to students. I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend school and get my AA if I hadn’t had financial aid,” Squaire said.
“Student Support Services is another service I didn’t take advantage of at first,” She said. “SSS provides scholarships for members, tutoring for subjects many students struggle with, and counseling for a variety of things. I didn’t personally use the tutoring or counseling, but it was comforting knowing that if I needed it, it was there for me because I had applied for SSS.”
Squaire also received scholarship assistance through membership with the PSC chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Corsair, as well as through other student organizations.
Schools.com states that the Florida College System consistently ranks highly in graduation and transfer rates among schools in the United States. The 2+2 program contributes to the state’s high transfer rates by partnering state colleges with universities in the area.
Through this program, the state of Florida guarantees students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree at a Florida state university or college that offers four-year degrees once they have completed an AA degree at a Florida college.
Squaire is now in her second semester at University of West Florida, studying English Literature. She utilized PSC2UWF transfer assistance which she feels helped to minimize stress.
“The people in the program handled pretty much everything with the transfer, including the $30 registration fee,” Squaire said. “I’ve had people who weren’t part of the program ask me how to do a certain thing that’s really confusing or complicated, but I never had to deal with it because of using the PSC2UWF program.”
“I think PSC helped prepare me for UWF well enough. I was nervous about attending a university at first,” she said. “Even though there are some differences between PSC and UWF, the two schools aren’t very different at all.”
Student-faculty ratios and university transfers
PSC alumni Kimberly Bogers also benefited from services offered by the college. She is now a nursing student at the University of Central Florida.
She and her family are especially familiar with the tuition assistance options available through the school. “It isn’t surprising to me at all that PSC received such a high ranking in Florida for affordability,” Bogers said.
“I’m a triplet, so with all 3 of us starting college at the same time it seemed like a smart idea to begin at a community college and then see what we each wanted to do after earning our AA degrees.”
“Once I began my first semester at PSC, I loved the school for so many more reasons than just the affordable tuition,” she said.
Bogers and her classmates often utilized the private study rooms available at the PSC library. They rented plastic bone and muscle models to study anatomy and physiology and printed free documents with her school ID.
No stranger to hard work, Bogers’ scholastic achievements helped her become eligible for scholarships offered through the school. “I earned eight scholarships, and I was so grateful for each of them. The scholarship application process was very understandable, and there were always a plethora of scholarship options available to students who took the time to apply,” Bogers said.
PSC has about 26,000 currently enrolled students on 3 campuses and centers, yet the school maintains a balanced student-faculty ratio.
“I feel that PSC also encourages student success by providing quality professors and having small class sizes. I always felt that my professors were easily approachable and very knowledgeable in their fields of study, which encouraged me to be involved in class and ask questions.” she said.
Along with top-notch instructors with numerous awards and honors among them, PSC reports a nearly 100 percent job placement rate for AS and career oriented certificates.
PSC has an entire campus dedicated to nursing and health sciences. Many students of the dual nationally accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and nationally accredited health science programs transfer to the University of South Alabama. They have a large selection of health science programs such as a physician’s assistant program.
UWF is also expanding its advanced health science options to include the addition of physician’s assistant and physical therapy programs.
“I find myself missing PSC’s frequent student body events, small class sizes, and overall welcoming environment,” Bogers said. “I learned so much as a PSC student and formed so many wonderful friendships. I will definitely always be a Pirate at heart.”