Thursday, November 7, 2013
Josh Stamps

Josh Stamps

Partnerships Expand Transfer Opportunities for Tri-County Students


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        11/6/2013                                                                                                           

(By Lisa Garrett)

             PENDLETON --- At first Josh Stamps didn't believe that he could earn a two-year Pre-Pharmacy degree from Tri-County, and with an acceptable GPA and good entrance exam scores, he could have the same shot at being accepted to pharmacy school as his friends with bachelor's degrees.

             Like many, he says he always assumed a four-year degree was needed to apply to pharmacy school until he learned of Tri-County's program that gives students the same opportunities to apply to enter a school of pharmacy that a four-year college or university would -- at a fraction of the time and cost.

            Now, when the 27-year-old Pre-Pharmacy major tells his friends that he will graduate from pharmacy school in six years instead of eight, they ask how.  "I tell them it's because I'm starting at Tri-County.  It makes an impression on them."

            It's a widespread misconception that individuals who want to become pharmacists, veterinarians, and chiropractors must earn a four- year degree before being eligible to apply for entrance to post-graduate institutions.

            Not so, says Science Department Head Suzanne Dr. Ellenberger, who, for the past year and a half, has been seeing Tri-County's Pre-Pharmacy majors complete their core course requirements and go on to be accepted at the Schools of Pharmacy at major colleges and universities like Presbyterian College, USC, Wingate University, the College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Mercer University in Atlanta.  Often times, they have multiple acceptance offers and have to make hard decisions on where to pursue their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees.

            "Most don't realize that a bachelor's degree is not required to go to pharmacy or veterinary school," she said.  "What is required for both are a good GPA in your program of core classes and a good score on the programs' entrance exams," she explained.  The Pharmacy College Admission Test or PCAT is the specialized test that helps to identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges.  The Veterinary College Admission Test, or VCAT, is a measurement device which helps to evaluate the knowledge and achievement of the student who is applying to the veterinary colleges.

            A major benefit of taking two years of classes at Tri-County is the substantial tuition reduction while maintaining the same quality of instruction as surrounding four-year colleges and universities, added Dr. Ellenberger.

            Building on the program's success, Dr. Ellenberger says there is a new addition to the pre-health profession cluster this fall.  The Pre-Veterinary Medicine degree gives students the core courses necessary to apply to the 23 veterinary schools in the United States. Applicants must have a good GPA and many require a good score on the VCAT.

            "As with pre-pharmacy, no preference is given between applicants with a bachelor's degree versus an associate degree," she said.

            "We're also developing a 2 + 2 articulation agreement with Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg.  It fits so well with our pre-health classes.  We've had good success with Pre-Pharmacy so there is no reason why we will not have continued success with veterinary medicine and chiropractic," she said.

            Other 2 + 2 articulation agreements are getting students' attention as a pathway to successful admission to Clemson and other Upstate colleges, she said.  These agreements between higher education institutions facilitate the transfer of course credits from one school to another.

            For example, the agreement between Tri-County and Clemson's Biological Sciences department, signed in 2010, allows students to take 66 credit hours of specific classes at Tri-County, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 to be accepted to Clemson's Biological Sciences program without further review of credentials and with junior standing.  Currently there are 15 students enrolled in the program and four have transferred to Clemson.

            The College has four 2 + 2 agreements with Southern Wesleyan University, whereby students can pursue bachelor of science degrees in Biology, Biology Education, Chemistry, and Forensic Science. 

            They take five semesters of classes at Tri-County and can transfer up to 72 credit hours.  They only have three semesters remaining to finish their bachelor's and enter SWU as second-semester juniors in these four majors, said Dr. Ellenberger.

            "Our relationship with area four-year colleges continues to grow and build," said Dr. Ellenberger.  "It's an affirmation of confidence in Tri-County and our students."

Transfer Agreements

In addition to majors specifically designed for transfer, Tri-County has agreements with the following colleges and universities allowing career program graduates with specific degrees to seamlessly transfer into select majors.

Anderson University

Clemson University

Erskine College

Limestone College

Presbyterian College

Southern Wesleyan University

University of South Carolina

USC Upstate

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