High school junior well on her way to college degree in GTCC's Career and College Promise program

Published on: February 15, 2022
Taylor Martin portrait
Taylor Martin may be just 16 years old, but with the Career and College Promise program, she’s on the way to a college degree.

Taylor Martin is 16 years old, but don't let her age mislead you. She will have a college degree from Guilford Technical Community College by the time she graduates high school, she is already eyeing four-year universities, and she has a career path charted.

The junior at Southeast Guilford High School is taking five classes at GTCC this semester and another five classes next semester as part of the college's Career and College Promise program. Some of those classes also count as high school credits, keeping her on track to graduate from Southeast in the spring of 2023. By then, she will also have an associate's degree from GTCC.

"For my long-term goal, I’m going to need a lot of schooling, so getting into college while I was in high school is very important to me," Martin said. “I would love to go to med school or PA (physician assistant) school.”

With the Career and College Promise program, "Basically, I will have two of those years of college out of the way,” Martin said.

The Career and College Promise program offers North Carolina high school students the opportunity to earn college credits at a community college. It is tuition free for high school juniors and seniors with a cumulative unweighted GPA of 2.8 or higher. Students in the program earn college credit that is transferable to all UNC System institutions and many of North Carolina's independent colleges and universities.

"GTCC has been a great opportunity for me," Martin said. "I'm going to have twice as many college credits than my friends in high school, and it really boosts my GPA to be more competitive for college admissions. When I first registered at GTCC for five classes, they warned me that I had to do well in all of them. Well, that kind of scared me, but I had the confidence that I could do it."

That was a good self-assessment. She finished her first semester with an A in each of the five classes.

"I'm very happy with the results I've seen," she said.

It's not like Martin has abandoned Southeast Guilford, though. One of the advantages of the Career and College Promise program is that students may remain involved in all their high school activities.

"One of the reasons I decided to do the Career and College Promise program was because I could still do extracurriculars at Southeast, too,” Martin said.

That was very important to Martin because she is an officer for Southeast's Future Farmers of America club and competes with the school's Hunter Safety Team.

"That's why I chose this program. I had also been accepted to the Middle College at GTCC Jamestown, but I wouldn't have been able to still be a part of my high school," Martin said. She added that even with five GTCC classes, she has been able to maintain her part-time job at Homeland Creamery in Julian. "I still had time to go to our football games this fall, and my best friend plays volleyball, so I went to some of their games to support her too."

There is a large learning curve in the move from high school to college classes, and she was anxious about that when school began last fall.

"The difficult part at first was not knowing what to expect. My first week of school, if you had asked me how it was, I would have said, 'just different.' It was difficult at first learning how to understand the way some professors taught. They are different than what I was used to (from high school) as is the content. That has been a big challenge for me."

The professors and instructors, Martin said, have been very supportive.

"They are all very understanding and flexible with you as long as you get the work done. The staff has been very adaptive and helpful throughout my whole first semester. That is a big part of why I've been successful, as well as the free tutoring center at GTCC," she said.

For more information on the Career and College Promise program, visit gtcc.edu/ccp.

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