PEMBROKE — George Yandle is part of a growing movement at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He comes to Pembroke this fall after graduating from community college.
Community colleges are emerging recruiting grounds for four-year schools, and UNCP has seized the opportunity. In the fall of 2014, it paid off in record numbers when 579 transfer students enrolled. Early estimates indicate that 2015 may be another record-setting year.
Who are these students and how did they arrive at UNCP? Yandle has some answers. He graduated from Richmond Community College last spring with an Associate of Arts degree and 62 transferable credit hours that will make him a junior at UNCP.
Many, like Yandle, are excellent students. To make any assumption about the academic abilities of community college transfer students is a mistake, says Kathy McCoin, campus administrator for UNCP at Richmond Community College.
“George is an outstanding student,” McCoin said. “I have sent many really good students to Pembroke, some of them with very, very high GPAs.”
Yandle was awarded Richmond Community College’s 2015 Academic Excellence Award, which is given to the top student at each community college in North Carolina. He explained why he chose to attend community college.
“Starting at a community college was a lot more affordable for me than going straight to a university,” Yandle said. “I support myself, and it took about four years to graduate. I am the first person from my family to attend college.”
At the community college, Yandle had a work-study job in the library that helped pay his way. He will seek part-time work at UNCP also.
Yandle plans to major in broadcasting, and he has experience video editing for his church. He visited Pembroke several times during “transfer Fridays” and once by appointment.
“Ms. McCoin got me an appointment with the department chair, and he gave me a tour of the studio and other facilities,” Yandle said. “I had other options other than UNCP such as UNCW and Gardner Webb, but I like the small class sizes at UNCP.”
Having McCoin on the community college campus was also a plus. Since November 2014, McCoin estimates approximately 150 Richmond Community College students have transferred to UNCP with her help.
“Students really appreciate having someone here to talk to about college,” McCoin said. “I tell them to call me if they need help when they get to Pembroke.”
As for Yandle, McCoin said “UNCP is fortunate to have him. Because he worked on campus, we’ve gotten to know him well. He’s very smart and very capable.”
Yandle sees his future clearly and is already thinking about graduate school. More immediately, he is planning to move into an off-campus apartment.
“Because I’m a junior, I can choose my housing, which is good,” he said. “I know several UNCP students who were classmates here at RCC; that’s good too.”
When Yandle gets on campus in August, UNCP’s Transfer Transition Office is waiting for him. It was established to assist transfer students in their adjustment.
UNCP will only have Yandle for two years, but community college students like him appear to be a big part of UNCP’s future.
Scott Bigelow is the public information officer for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.