Much more than savings!

Jenna Williams is a self-defined former “slacker” who was uninterested in school and had the poor grades that went along with it.

So how does a student like that end up cultivating a genuine love of learning and being accepted at some of the most prestigious colleges in America?

“Start at a community college,” Jenna advised. “I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it.”

Jenna admits she didn’t get the best grades or like school much. So when she graduated from Towson High School in 2013, she decided to stick with serving up lattes at a local Starbucks rather than head off to a college campus. After spending that fall working at restaurant, she had a change of heart.

“I was bored and realized I wanted to go back to school,” Jenna admitted. “CCBC gave me a second chance.” Her teachers encouraged her to step up – in and out of the classroom.

“One of my professors told me I should lead a club; another told me to apply to the Honors program. They were telling me, ‘You’re smart! You’re capable!’ It makes a difference to have someone really notice you,” Jenna said.

She joined the Honors program, became president of the Women’s Studies Club and, after discovering her passion for politics in a Political Science class, became an intern with the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis.

By the time she earned her associate degree in 2013, Jenna had also been accepted to Brown University, Northeastern University, UMBC and the University of Maryland, College Park. She ultimately transferred to UMD as a junior, with all of her credits intact.

“Some schools didn’t even ask for my high school transcript because it no longer mattered,” she explained. “I’d already earned my associate degree.”

Jenna is set to graduate from UMD in Spring 2017, on track with her former Towson High classmates. Jenna and her family couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

“Initially, we hadn’t anticipated this path, but it was the best thing that could’ve happened,” said Jenna’s mom, Katy McGuire. “It’s all because of the wonderful confluence of Jenna’s energy and the quality of CCBC. And we saved a lot of money, which is a bonus!”

Graduating from CCBC debt-free is especially helpful as Jenna has decided to pursue law school.

“I owe CCBC so much,” she said. “I’m not sure who I would be without it.”
CCBC Alumnus Jenna Williams profile picture