About Macon State
Kentrel Adams, 21, studies in the coffee shop in the Library. An IT major, he is considering a range of careers from business management to real estate to theology.
of Macon State College
finds a viable choice in MSC
By Sheron Smith
Macon State College is increasingly becoming a top choice of Central Georgia's recent high school graduates.
Roughly half of Macon State's 6,200 students are of "traditional" age, broadly defined as 24 and younger - the so-called Generation Y. Further fitting the traditional student mold, many came to Macon State right out of high school, take classes full-time during the day and work either part-time or not at all. Compared to older students, they tend to participate more in Student Life program activities. And they don't feel shortchanged by the lack of dorms and other residential university amenities.
Take Josh Chambless, a 2005 graduate of Westside High School who is a sophomore business major at Macon State.
A freshman early childhood education major, Kelly Hunter, 18, hopes to become a schoolteacher in Bibb County.
"I have friends who went away to school, and I've visited them there, and it's nice," said Chambless, 19. "It just wasn't for me. I can be a Georgia Bulldogs fan and a proud Macon State student at the same time. I feel like I'm getting opportunities here I wouldn't get anywhere else."
For example, in an effort to build a skill set he hopes leads him to owning his own business some day, Chambless is serving as treasurer of Macon State's Student Government Association.
"That'll look good on a resume," he said.
As a metropolitan college focused on serving the needs of the Central Georgia region, Macon State reaches a diverse population of learners. For every Josh Chambless, there's a working adult student who may have nothing in common with his or her younger counterparts except for one important factor: All are looking to fulfill professional and personal goals by earning a college degree.
"The beauty of a college like Macon State is that we offer something for everyone," said Lynn McCraney, dean of students. "We have a supportive environment for students of all age ranges who work full-time and may not get to spend much time on campus except for their classes. For the younger students, who often want more in the way of a traditional college experience, we have many of the same clubs and activities you'll find at a residential university."
That's not to say older students don't participate in Macon State's Student Life program - they do. But in recent years McCraney and her staff have expanded activities to include more of those requested by the Generation Y crowd.
This year, "Drive-In Movies" in the Student Life Center's outdoor amphitheater were added to the activities lineup. The Student Life program has long offered "Family Night" movies in a campus auditorium that are geared toward working adult students and their children, but the drive-in features attract a more diverse crowd.
The College's intramural sports teams - flag football, volleyball, softball, dodgeball and tennis - also tend to be dominated by the Gen Y students, and many participate in the outdoor adventure trips, such as camping and kayaking, sponsored by Student Life.
Crystal Jenkins, 22, is a senior public service major. She is a student worker in Macon State's Counseling and Career Center.
Kentrel Adams, 21, who played football, wrestled and ran track while at Westside High School, keeps in shape physically by participating in Macon State's flag football intramural program. He keeps his mind sharp as an information technology major who works in the College's Technology Assistance Center and as a tutor in the Academic Resource Center.
"College is what you make of it," said Adams, a junior who often puts in 12-hour days on the Macon campus between classes, work and student activities. "Whether you go to a residential college or a college like Macon State, you'll be bored if you don't make the most of your opportunities there."
Adams began college at Savannah State University but took a class at Macon State while home on his first summer break. He liked the College so much he decided to stay.
"It's a nice environment with lots of resources and friendly people," he said. "I went from being a transient student to a transfer student."
The promise of Student Life opportunities and a quality academic program are what prompted Crystal Jenkins, 22, a senior public service major, to transfer to Macon State after completing her associate's degree at Middle Georgia College.
"Macon State gave me a chance to ease away from home and establish some independence," said Jenkins, a Washington County High School graduate. "It's been great. I love my (major) and I've made some good friends here. Two of my friends moved here from the Atlanta area to go to Macon State. They felt it was just far enough away from Atlanta traffic but close enough that they could visit home whenever they like."
The game room in the Student Life Center is a popular hangout for Gen Y students.
Kendra Hahn, 22, a junior majoring in early childhood education, points to the beauty of the Macon State campus as enhancing the traditional college experience for her. She and her boyfriend, the aforementioned Chambless, brought their parents to Macon State for a visit before enrolling.
"Our parents, and our friends (from other colleges) who have taken summer classes here were expecting some small local college and they were astonished at what they saw," said Hahn, a First Presbyterian Day School graduate. "As far as buildings and the attractiveness of the campus, Macon State stacks up against any other school in Georgia."
Hahn is press secretary for the Student Government Association and has enjoyed the opportunities that position has afforded her.
"I don't know too many other students at other colleges who have had a chance to work closely with the dean of students and meet the president of the school," she said.
Other traditional-aged students like Kelly Hunter, 18, never considered any other college except for Macon State.
"I have a really close relationship with my mom, and I just wanted to stay in Macon," said Hunter, who graduated from Tattnall Square Academy. "Macon State has the program I want - early childhood education - so I didn't have to go anywhere else."
Hunter said she has friends who attend Georgia Southern University who are enjoying things like dorm living and Greek life. "I have nothing against that, but that's a part of college I never cared about," she said. "I didn't have to go away to college to have independence."