Business Administration major Rachel Bessonen graduated from Bay College as a sophomore at the end of the fall 2020 semester. She was able to accomplish this feat not long after she graduated from Escanaba Senior High School in 2019.
Rachel said she made the decision to become involved with the Early College partnership between Bay and Escanaba Senior High School during her junior year of high school.
“I decided the early/middle college program would be a great way for me to start my education off at Bay College,” she said.
Through Early College partnerships, area high school students can receive their high school diploma and either an occupational certificate, an associate degree, or up to two years of credit towards a bachelor’s degree – all at no cost to the students. Participating students take a fifth year of high school, which mostly consists of courses at Bay College.
“Technically, we’re still considered seniors for that one year at Bay, and then we graduate,” Rachel said.
Thanks to classes she took during the summer of 2020, Rachel graduated from Bay ahead of schedule.
“Instead of going two years at Bay, I was able to condense it to one and a half years,” she said.
Rachel graduated from Bay with an associate of arts degree with a focus in business administration. She said her interest in the world of business and finance began with a personal finance class she took in high school.
“During my time at Bay, I’ve had an internship at Thrivent Financial, which has also helped sparked my interest to go into business,” she said.
In addition to her associate degree, Rachel earned a sustainability certificate while she was at Bay.
“I had taken environmental science at Bay College as one of my science credits, and I really enjoyed the class,” she said.
Her professor for the class recommended that Rachel look into the qualifications for a sustainability certificate.
“It matched up really well with my associate of arts degree,” she said.
Rachel said her experience as a Bay student was a positive one.
“All the faculty that I have worked with at Bay have been extremely helpful answering my questions and helping me make sure that I had my path laid out clearly,” she said.
Next year, Rachel will go downstate to continue her college education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
“This coming spring semester, I’m going to be heading down to East Lansing to attend Michigan State University,”
There, she plans to start out by majoring in management. However, she noted this could change at some point.
“I also have an interest in human resources,” Rachel said.
After she is done studying at MSU, Rachel is aiming to continue gaining experience in her chosen field.
“I guess I’ll just be hoping to find some internships along the way to help me expand my knowledge of the world of business,” she said.