Hillcrest students learn about the mechatronics training partnership with Mercedes-Benz at Shelton State Community College.

Hillcrest students learn about the mechatronics training partnership with Mercedes-Benz at Shelton State Community College.

Students in the Blueprints College Success program that complete the curriculum’s college-going milestones have the opportunity to visit a college campus at the conclusion of the semester. Thirty-six 11th and 12th students from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa got a firsthand view of college when they toured Shelton State Community College and The University of Alabama on November 29.

The day’s first stop was Shelton State’s Martin campus, where students received a guided tour of the campus grounds before traveling to the Fredd campus. There, students observed the school’s many technical programs and interacted with staff in the electrical technology, respiratory therapy, welding, culinary arts programs, and the mechatronics training partnership with Mercedes-Benz.

“I’m surprised that Shelton is so much cheaper and potentially more useful than some four-year colleges. By starting at a junior college, you are able to transfer to a four-year university with an advantage of spending less money,” said senior Cameron Stewart, who plans to pursue a degree in journalism.

Classmate Sharon Bass-Smith, who plans to become an athletic trainer said, “Community college is a good place to start your college transition and get your foot in the door before you transfer. It’s the best place to start, in my opinion.

Later, the group headed to The University of Alabama. Students viewed a dorm and toured campus grounds before eating lunch in Lakeside Dining Hall. In the afternoon, a panel of faculty and UA students answered Hillcrest students’ questions about classes, admissions, and activities on campus.

By the end of the day, Hillcrest students could better visualize themselves on a college campus. With more knowledge about the college experience, as well as technical and academic degree opportunities available to them, students can make more informed college-going decisions during their senior year of high school.

“College means my future. Education is everything. It’s how you get around today,” said Stewart.