CHADRON – The Panhandle Advantage is a collaborative effort between Western Nebraska Community College and Chadron State College created to streamline the process for WNCC students who have earned an associate’s degree to complete a bachelor’s degree at CSC. Each WNCC graduate with a qualifying GPA is eligible for a two-year scholarship to CSC.
Becky McAllister, a CSC START Advisor, sees the move as an additional positive development between the two schools.
“The advantage is that we have worked together to provide a pathway in which students can start at WNCC and seamlessly transfer those programs to CSC knowing that all the courses they took are a pathway to the final degree with a plan clearly laid out for them,” said McAllister.
Tonya Hergenrader, WNCC Career Pathways & Advising Director, is also encouraged by the efforts made thus far between the two colleges.
“We’re so grateful for this partnership with CSC. Students can now focus less on the nuts and bolts of transferring, and more on achieving their academic and career goals. The Panhandle Advantage makes the transfer process clear and effortless, which we’re hoping will inspire more people to go on for their bachelor’s degrees.”
Lorenzo Lopez of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, a criminal justice major, said when he transferred to CSC last year, the process was essentially seamless.
“I definitely see this program benefitting those who may not be able to make a big commitment to something like a state college right away. I never even imagined myself going to a state college. I visualized Chadron State College like the 12-foot deep end of a pool, so it was very intimidating. WNCC was like the 3-foot shallow side. Over time, I was able to learn how to swim in the shallow end, and now I've made this smooth transition into the deep end (CSC) and it's no longer frightening,” Lopez said.
Currently, students pursuing degrees in Elementary Education and Business Administration are already ensured an easy transfer process from WNCC to CSC through the Panhandle Advantage. However, Tamara Toomey, Director of Student Transition and Retention at CSC, said she and her counterparts at WNCC hope to finalize additional Panhandle Advantage degree options in the near future to provide additional opportunities to more transfer students.
“It is more important than ever that we help transfer students make best use of their credits and that we provide them a clear path to a degree. This is one way CSC is meeting this need. Combined with our generous transfer student scholarships, the Panhandle Advantage makes CSC a great regional option for transfer students,” Toomey said.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator