April 24, 2024

From CCAC to SRU: My path to graduation

Brendan King '24
Slippery Rock University

Brendan King celebrating on his last day with WE-EF Lighting.At the start of my senior year of high school—while I could have coasted to the finish line—I was taking college courses at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). I knew that I would go to college, because I've always loved learning and was encouraged by both my parents and my siblings, all of whom are college graduates.

I chose to continue at CCAC after high school so I could live at home and save money while earning college credits that would get me one step closer to a four-year degree. My apprenticeship as a sales engineer with WE-EF Lighting covered the cost of my tuition, allowing me to save even more and putting me in a much stronger position financially to pursue my bachelor’s degree.

In May 2023, I completed an associate degree in business and a certificate in technical sales engineering. After studying for two years at CCAC, I was prepared to transfer to Slippery Rock University (SRU), where I would complete my bachelor’s degree in finance.

SRU made my transition from a community college seamless by giving transfer students like me the same introduction as incoming freshmen. After a full weekend of events introducing me to campus, I was able to settle in quickly. This was my first time living away from home, and I found myself feeling at home much faster than I expected.

Brendan King leads a presentation for Alpha Kappa Psi.University housing was accommodating, and I was happy with my residence hall and, most importantly, my roommate—a junior who answered any additional questions I had related to campus, including parking rules and campus resources.

I also found that SRU made credit transfers and scheduling easier than any other college I’d looked at. SRU accepted all my community college credits and provided me with a detailed breakdown of what to expect in my schedule, easing any lingering uncertainties I may have had.

Once the semester started, I took advantage of as many opportunities as I could to become part of campus. I attended many events and joined several clubs, as well as the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi—one of the best decisions I made during my time at SRU.

Alpha Kappa Psi introduced me to many of my current friends and provided me with experiences such as community service, travel, and an opportunity to mentor new transfer students who are in the same place I was in just last semester. Currently I am the professional chair for AKPsi and the fundraising chair for the Finance and Economics Club, both important leadership positions that will serve me well in the future. 

Brendan King and the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity

After I graduate in May, I plan to help my family run our restaurant outside of Pittsburgh and then start a career in the finance world. SRU has provided me with many opportunities to build my job search skills, including resume workshops, etiquette dinners, and other events dedicated to employment and marketability. The SRU Career Education and Development team has been a particularly invaluable source of knowledge, advice, and industry experience. With their help, the reach of my professional network, the quality of my resumes and cover letters, and my overall confidence in job searching has increased significantly.

Brendan King and his parents in their family-owned restaurant, Revival on Lincoln.

While I worked hard to get here, my story is not unique. Students from community colleges are continuing to find a home at PASSHE universities and a reliable and affordable way to earn a degree and take that next big step forward.  

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