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Austin Smith

CCBC Graduate, Fine Arts, ’23

Profile photo of Austin Smith

CCBC in three words: affordable, flexible and stress-free.

After graduating high school in 2020, Austin Smith wasn’t sure if college was right for him. After learning he was a recipient of the Baltimore County College Promise scholarship, he enrolled in CCBC that fall to give it a try.

“I felt as though I needed to see if college was for me, so I decided to come to CCBC and do two years to see if I was ready,” said Smith. “My parents didn’t have the money to send me to college – especially with the pandemic – so when I found out I received the College Promise scholarship, I made the decision to go to CCBC.”

With College Promise, Smith has been able to attend college without worrying about the cost of his education. He feels that the smaller environment at CCBC is less stressful and makes it easier for new students to adjust. Smith also takes advantage of resources such as the Student Success Center, where he can go to get help with his course work.

Attending CCBC has also enabled him to fulfill one of his dreams – to play college basketball. Smith, who played four years of high school basketball, is a proud member of the CCBC Cardinals Men’s Basketball team.

“After doing well in my first year at CCBC, I realized college really was for me,” said Smith, who is majored in Fine Arts and earned a Certificate in Photography.

When Smith was younger, he always liked to draw and create. In high school he was in his school’s photography magnet program, and he instantly fell in love. He attended online classes in the morning at home, and after they ended at 1 or 2 p.m. he'd go straight to study hall and then to basketball practice.

“I enjoyed being an athlete at CCBC,” said Smith. “The coaches helped me out. They gave us advice and taught us skills we can use in the real world.”

Smith, one of CCBC’s Fresh Faces student ambassadors, says it is important to get involved at CCBC because you never know what you might experience or how you might gain. He is also a member of CCBC’s Male Student Success Initiative (MSSI), which offers services to help improve graduation rates of male students of color.

“What I like best about CCBC are the resources,” said Smith. “The MSSI program helped me meet new people and gain new abilities and skills. I liked the fact that I could talk to other males about how to handle problems in life or assignments in class. It’s been a great opportunity.”

If people are on the fence about attending community college, Smith says: “I would tell them to go for it. It’s worth your time and helps you get ready for whatever you want to do in life.”

After graduating from CCBC with an associate degree, Smith has not yet decided if he wants to transfer to a four-year college or begin his career as a photographer.