|Hometown: Iron River, MI|
In 2022, Bay College freshman Nick Mattson graduated from high school at West Iron County Public Schools. Unlike many high school seniors, however, he did not have to sit down and decide where he wanted to go to college at this point in his life. In fact, he had already been taking college classes for years through Bay’s Early/Middle College program.
“It was offered at my high school. They told all the kids about the program, and how you’d take dual-enrollment classes as a junior and senior in high school before doing another year at Bay,” he said.
As one of the 400-plus students participating in the Early/Middle College program each year, Nick was able to get the prerequisites for his degree out of the way during his last two years of high school at the Dickinson-Iron Career Technical Education Centre.
“By the time I graduated, I had my whole first year of college done,” he said.
One of Nick’s favorite things about the Early/Middle College program is the money-saving opportunities it has provided for him.
“Your tuition and books are all paid for – the only thing I had to pay for was my housing. I’m basically getting a free associate degree,” he said.
According to Nick, his involvement in Early/Middle College was a significant factor in his decision to enter the mechatronics field.
“The Early/Middle College program was only offered for a handful of degrees, and that stood out to me the most as something I’d enjoy,” he said.
So far, he has been even more pleased with his choice of major than he expected going in.
“I really like working with electrical panels, learning about robotics, and things like that. I went into mechatronics knowing I would enjoy at least some aspects of it, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would,” Nick said.
Nick has also found a great deal to like about his experience as a Bay College student.
“It’s been great – I love it here. The people are great, and the professors are nice and good at their jobs. If you have questions after class, they’re willing to talk about it,” he said.
Along with these benefits, Nick has taken advantage of many of the perks that come with being a student at Bay College – including his free student membership to the Northern Lights YMCA.
“I go to the Y a lot to shoot hoops, go swimming, and maybe get a workout in. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Thanks to his participation in the Early/Middle College program, Nick is already set to graduate from Bay at the end of the winter 2023 semester. After he graduates, he does not plan to wait long to enter the working world.
“I’m going to apply for a couple positions and see if I can find a job. I thought about transferring for a while, but I think I’m just going to earn my two-year degree and go to work,” he said.