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“I just felt I needed a little more support before going off to a four-year school. I’ve saved a lot of money by coming here and I’m still going to go where I want to go for my Bachelor’s. I never thought I’d be doing as well as I am in school – I just hope the two years don’t go too fast!”
Interest: Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
When Nina Soares graduated from Watertown High School in 2013, she had no doubt that she would attend a four-year institution. She had gone on a college tour of several schools around the country, and she knew exactly what school she would be going to: High Point University, about 80 miles northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. But, she also knew she wasn’t ready to go there right out of high school.
“I just felt I needed a little more support before going off to a four-year school,” she explains. “I had an IAP and struggled academically in high school, and I didn’t want to go all by myself to North Carolina. I also didn’t want to take a year off. When I was looking at schools and strategizing with my guidance counselor, he suggested MassBay.”
Nina enrolled in MassBay’s Associate Degree in Criminal Justice program for the fall 2013 semester. “I had a few friends who had given me good feedback about MassBay,” she says. “I knew they had good support here and that I could ask the questions I needed to at any time.”
“It was hard to see my friends go off to Harvard and places like that,” Nina admits, “But at the end of the day, I’ve saved a lot of money by coming here and I’m still going to go where I want to go for my Bachelor’s. I think it really doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end up. The workload and the subjects are the same here as it is at the four-year schools, but it is a less stressful environment. MassBay was more convenient for me and I knew I would get that extra help before going off to a four-year.”
Nina has made friends her age at MassBay, but she’s also enjoying getting to know some of her fellow students that are outside of her age range. “At first I wasn’t sure I’d like being in class with older people,” she says, “But some of them are like moms to me. I’ve really liked having students with life experience in my classes – they bring a real-world perspective to the classroom.”
For any students her age who might be considering taking the community college route to earning a Bachelor’s degree, Nina recommends MassBay. “I’ve gone directly to my professors for help with assignments and tests,” she says. “My psychology professor, Ms. Alegi-Feeney, she comes to school early almost every morning to help me. She’s been a big support to me when I struggled in her class. But, it’s all on you – you have to sign up for classes and enroll because they’re not going to do it for you.”
Despite being on campus for a short time, Nina has thrived at MassBay. In addition to taking five courses, she is an active member of the MassBay cheerleading team. She also works part time as a nanny and plays hockey in her spare time.
“I never thought I’d be doing as well as I am in school,” she says with a smile. “I really enjoy coming to school each day, and I’m eager to take more classes here. I just hope the two years don’t go too fast!”
Nina Soares enrolled in MassBay’s Associate Degree in Criminal Justice program after graduating from Watertown High School in 2013. She intends to earn her degree and then transfer her MassBay credits to High Point University in North Carolina and ultimately become a state trooper.