MARIETTA, OH — Thanks to Ohio’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program, Washington State Community College’s (WSCC) Student of the Month Emilie Bever will be able to fast track her plans for a bachelor’s degree.
This spring, Bever, will don her WSCC green cap and gown and walk across the stage to receive her associate degree in liberal arts transfer. From there, she’s not taking the traditional path to earn her bachelor’s degree. Instead, she’s getting a jump-start on a one-year apprenticeship required by her college of choice, Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science (CCMS), where she plans to study to become a funeral home director and embalmer.
In the meantime, the Belpre High School senior is taking full advantage of every minute before graduation to get some early exposure to her future career. Last fall, she got a job with a local funeral home as a funeral assistant. Her desire to work in the profession, along with her assurance that she would take the position seriously, made an impression on the director that resulted in a job. “I’m the youngest person they’ve ever hired,” Bever added.
While her current duties are far removed from those handled by the funeral director, she is getting first-hand experience working with grieving families, which will be essential throughout her career. “I’m a very empathetic person and I care about how people feel,” said Bever. “Funerals are already hard, I think I can make it a little easier with being a friendly face.” Once she has her associate degree, her current position at the funeral home will be modified so she can begin her apprenticeship.
Bever credits CCP, Ohio’s early college option that allows 7th through 12th-grade students the opportunity to earn college credits at no cost to them, with expediting her academic pursuits and saving her a significant amount of money. “Without CCP, I’d be so far behind where I am today. I’d have to catch up on over two years of schooling before I could begin my apprenticeship,” she explained. She further advised that in addition to the time savings, the early college program will ultimately save her more than $30,000 in tuition.
Following her year of hands-on experience at the funeral home, Bever will transition to Cincinnati where, in just four short semesters, she will earn her bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. The transfer pathway is made seamless through an articulation agreement between WSCC and CCMS which enables WSCC graduates to be admitted into the mortuary science program with junior-level status.