GTCC C-STEP Program Keeps Student’s Dream Of UNC Alive

Published on: March 24, 2021
GTCC C-STEP program helped Sophia Wilkins reignite her dream of attending UNC Chapel Hill.

Sophia Wilkins always dreamed of going to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Now, thanks to Guilford Technical Community College’s C-STEP transfer pathway, that dream is on the verge of reality.

The C-STEP transfer pathway is a partnership with UNC Chapel Hill that guarantees a student admission to the four-year institution upon completion of the C-STEP associate degree program at GTCC.

Life got in the way of Wilkins’ dream when she was a junior in high school. She became pregnant and had a boy. Instead of returning to school in person, she finished high school through an online program.

“I was able to stay home with my son and care for him while I finished high school with online classes,” she said.

At that point, she figured her UNC dream was history. Her best and closet option to home was GTCC.

“I wanted to attend Chapel Hill after my senior year, however the school doesn’t offer many online classes or degrees. Therefore, I decided to attend GTCC in order to take online classes while staying home with my son,” said Wilkins, who, at that point, had no idea where she would transfer for her undergraduate degree.

During a conversation with a Northern Guilford High School guidance counselor Wilkins learned of C-STEP. Suddenly, her dream was reignited.

“Once I heard about the C-STEP program, I realized that I did not have to give up my dream of going to UNC,” said Wilkins. “With the help and encouragement of my family, friends, and my C-STEP advisors, I applied to C-STEP and got in.

“I want to set an example for all young moms and everyone that you can get an education and have a family at the same time. You have to fight for your dreams and always strive to complete your goals.”

The first round of Wilkins’ college goals will soon be complete. She will graduate from GTCC and the C-STEP program in the spring of 2022 with an associate in science. She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science in mathematics with a minor in teaching at UNC.

Wilkins says she feels very confident and comfortable with her future in Chapel Hill; that the C-STEP program has prepared her well.

“I think I will be well prepared for UNC once I finish the C-STEP program. My advisors and other C-STEP faculty have done an amazing job helping me in any way they can,” said Wilkins. “I have met with other C-STEP students who are currently at UNC to get insight on what life is like when you transfer. I have also met with many UNC C-STEP advisors and staff who have helped answer all of my questions about transferring and about UNC.”

For more information on the C-STEP program, visit:

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