CHICKASHA – In less than three months, Kyla Patterson will proudly add the words “college graduate” to her social media profile. She will join roughly 28,000 others who will receive undergraduate degrees from public institutions across Oklahoma this year, according to information supplied by the state Regents for Higher Education.
Additionally, Patterson is gainfully employed and has plans to further her education. Patterson, 19, of Chickasha, said she knew a few years ago that she wanted to go to college. She mapped out the best pathway to ensure success by first enrolling at nearby Canadian Valley Technology Center as a high school junior.
She believed the skills she would acquire at CV Tech would help her in both in college and in the workplace. Patterson completed innovative business projects and performed a variety of office administration procedures within a business environment in Business Office Technology. She also was instructed in the use of ethical standards and professionalism and was taught to respect confidentiality among clients.
She currently works as an Admissions Office assistant at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
“Each day I help with the intake of applications and the day to day processes around the office,” she said.
She also attends classes at Oklahoma City Community College and is on track to complete an associate degree in business in May. She hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business elsewhere.
CV Tech’s Business Office Technology instructor, Alissa Jackson, said Patterson is a classic example of the opportunity awaiting students who want to work their way through college.
“Kyla is a hard worker,” Jackson said. “What she has done is not unlike many students who have enrolled at Canadian Valley. Many people ask if they should go to CV Tech or go to college. In Kyla’s case – and for many others – the answer is both.
“She used her completion certificate to help her land a job making more than minimum wage, and she is working a job closely related to her future career. I am so proud of her.”
Roughly one-third of CV Tech graduates choose to further their education. Figures released by the Oklahoma Department of Education show roughly half of all high school graduates enroll in college each year. Nearly 7.5 percent of Oklahomans aged 25 years and older complete an associate degree, while another 16 percent complete bachelor’s degrees.
Oklahoma ranks among the best bargains nationwide for in-state college tuition (at nearly $10,500), though community colleges continue to be the most affordable high ed options at about $3,500 annually.
The University of Oklahoma remains the most popular in-state school with more than 22,000 students. Average tuition at OU is $4,800, according to data supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuition at private universities, such as Oklahoma City University and Oral Roberts University, surpasses $25,000 annually. The University of Tulsa is highest in-state with an average annual tuition cost of over $40,000.
Students under age 24, who live within a partner high school district, may attend classes at CV Tech tuition-free through the school’s Next Step Scholarship. For more information, please call (405) 224-7220 and ask to speak to a counselor.