Alaina Sonksen thought she had her college education all figured out when she was in high school. She was going to go to a small private college and get a degree in education. Today the SFCC graduate and communications major at Missouri State University in Springfield is glad things didn’t go according to plan.
“I never once considered going to community college in high school,” says Alaina. “I thought there was this stigma attached to it. I remember one friend who said community college is for people who can’t get into four-year schools.”
But after taking 12 dual credits at SFCC during her senior year at Camdenton High School, she sat down with her parents to crunch the numbers for private college and began to rethink her decision. “I’m a pretty thrifty person,” she says. “When I saw the numbers laid out in front of me, I couldn’t really deal with the amount it was going to cost me over four years.”
“Since I got my dual credit classes at SFCC, I decided to just start college at SFCC’s Lake of the Ozarks campus,” she says. Alaina also qualified for the Missouri A+ program, which made her tuition at SFCC free.
She admits she felt a little embarrassed by her decision at first and found it hard to tell her friends who were headed off to universities. But today she says, “It was such a good decision financially. I’m so grateful I picked State Fair.”
With dual credit she finished her associate degree in three semesters. “I met some great people and had some great instructors,” she adds.
As for her friends? A couple have dropped out of college, and some decided to take a break from their universities and take classes at SFCC. More than one has told her, “You were smart. I should have started this way and taken time to think about my decisions.”