Gamecock Gateway paves the journey to USC
By Megan Sexton, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-1421
A group of 163 South Carolina students will start on a new journey this month to become part of the University of South Carolina – via the Gamecock Gateway.
The partnership between USC and Midlands Technical College is a one-year academic program for first-time college students. Students will live at the Roost residence hall on campus at USC and take classes at the Airport campus of Midlands Technical College. After successfully completing 30 credit hours, students are eligible to transfer to Carolina following the spring 2013 semester.
The invitation-only program provides students with support from both institutions, offering affordability, access and the eventual opportunity to enroll and receive a degree from USC, leaders from both institutions said Monday (Aug. 6, 2012).
“Gamecock Gateway is an innovative collaboration that will provide participating students with small-group services through Midlands Technical College while offering the resources and opportunities of our large, research university,” USC President Harris Pastides said. “I appreciate our continuing partnership with MTC and warmly welcome our Gamecock Gateway students to Carolina.”
The Gamecock Gateway builds on a commitment the university has made over the past five years to make the transition from South Carolina’s technical colleges to the University of South Carolina as seamless as possible. Midlands Technical College and USC are collaborating on many initiatives to better serve the citizens and employers of South Carolina.
“Midlands Technical College is pleased to partner with USC to provide increased access to higher education through the Gamecock Gateway,” said MTC President Marshall (Sonny) White. “I am certain that students will benefit from this seamless transition system, and that both institutions will strive to serve the needs of this select group.”
While residential bridge programs are growing, only a handful of flagship universities across the country offer such programs. Students enrolled in the Gamecock Gateway program will be able to take advantage of services on both the USC and MTC campuses.
Students will have access to USC services including parking, meal plans, the Student Health Center, the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center and Blatt PE Center, clubs and organizations, intramural sports, the Student Success Center and University Libraries. They will not receive tickets to football, basketball and baseball games (although they can purchase tickets), and they are not permitted to join a social fraternity or sorority, hold office in a student organization or participate in intercollegiate athletics.
At MTC, students will have access to a Gateway-dedicated adviser and coordinator, supplemental instruction for some courses, Fast Track intensive refresher courses, the Academic Success Center and counseling and career services. They can also take advantage of Midlands Technical College student life opportunities, join student organizations at MTC and benefit from any other services available to MTC students.
Students will be transported by shuttle bus from the Roost to MTC’s Airport campus.
“The Gamecock Gateway is an important part of USC’s efforts to provide multiple paths to a Carolina degree for academically eligible South Carolina residents,” said Dennis Pruitt, USC’s vice president for student affairs.
For students such as Davion Johnson of Lamar, S.C., the Gamecock Gateway is making his dream of becoming part of the Carolina family come true.
“I’ve always been a Gamecock fan. I toured the campus, loved the vibe, loved the setting. I loved everything about it,” Johnson said. “I knew it was home.”
When he learned he wasn’t accepted to the university, he received an invitation to be part of the Gamecock Gateway program.
“I was out-of-town when the letter came, but my dad called me and said, ‘You can still go to USC. You can still do this,’ ” said Johnson, a graduate of Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology who plans to major in biology. “It’s a great opportunity as far as me getting where I want to be.”
Now he has an app on his phone, counting down the days until the Aug. 22 move-in at the Roost residence hall.
“What’s the most exciting thing about starting? The moving out of my parents’ house and the beginning of adulthood,” he said. “I’m ready to start a life for myself. This is the beginning.”
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