DUBLIN — It seems as if Allison Benson has always been a part of Bladen Community College. After all, she has been around the campus at various times throughout her life. Her mother, Samantha Benson, is currently the college’s director of financial aid and has been an employee of the college since shortly after she graduated from BCC in 1994.
Samantha had worked in the work-study program while a student at BCC and became an employee of the college in April 1995, approximately eight months before Allison was born.
A native and lifelong resident of Bladen County, Allison says the Career & College Promise program has given her a significant leg up on achieving her dream. She points out that she has long been aware of the relationship between the local high schools and the college. She states that she became aware of the old Huskins Dual Enrollment program while she was in middle school and had planned to enroll in the program when she got to her senior year of high school.
However, the Huskins program was replaced by Career & College Promise when she was in the 10th grade. She heard a presentation on the new program that year and learned that she could begin earning college credits under the program as early as her junior year of high school.
She also learned that the new program was structured differently from the old Huskins Dual Enrollment program in that students in Career & College Promise were enrolled in pathways specifically designed to enable them to complete courses they would need in their major of choice. The College Transfer path enabled a student to enroll in an Associate of Arts pathway or Associate of Science pathway. She enrolled in the Associate of Science pathway because her ultimate objective was to become a pharmacist.
She completed the requirements in the Associate of Science pathway by the first semester of her senior year of high school. She graduated from West Bladen High School in June, but continued taking courses at BCC this summer. That has enabled her to transfer to Campbell University this fall with 35 semester hours of credit. She plans to major in pre-pharmacy and minor in the honors program at Campbell.
Earlier this year she became the first high school student in the county to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, a community college honor society. That achievement enabled her to enroll in the honors program at Campbell.
“I would recommend Career & College Promise to any eligible high school student,” she says. “Attending college while you are still in high school enables you to adapt to the requirements of college while still a high school student. You learn that college life requires you to be more responsible, because college instructors expect you to keep up with assignments and not have to be reminded all the time.
“In high school, the teachers often remind students of their responsibilities and expectations, much like holding your hand. In college courses, you learn that you have to be more organized and keep up with what is expected of you. Another advantage is that you are exposed to older students who are returning to college or in college for the first time at an older age. Career & College Promise also saves participants a lot of money. For example, it will save my family approximately $38,000, which would be the approximate cost of the first year at Campbell.”
When Allison has free time, she enjoys art, cooking, and spending time with her family. She says she is busy preparing to leave for Campbell.
“I will start classes at Campbell on Aug. 20 and am looking forward to the transition,” she said. “I will begin my studies there as a sophomore. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in Career & College Promise. It has definitely helped me to be successful in my journey to a career. It has given me a foundation for the future.”
— Jack McDuffie is the director of marketing and public relatoins at Bladen Community College.