May 25, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Seth Hartley wasn’t sure what to expect from a community college education.
“You always hear community college isn’t that great,” he said.
But, after enrolling at Montgomery County Community College, Hartley, of Souderton, said he was “truly proven wrong.”
“It was very welcoming,” he said, adding that he has served as president of multiple student clubs, including the History Club and THRIVE, a Christian fellowship organization, during his time at MCCC.
Hartley, who graduated from Calvary Baptist High School in Lansdale, had been accepted at a university, but opted to continue his studies at MCCC instead.
“We’ve had a lot of family issues growing up. My father was in and out of jobs,” he said. “Money was never really something we had.”
Then, during his senior year of high school, his father had a stroke and spent six months in a hospital.
“We have to take care of him,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave my mother in that time.”
He chose to work and attend college locally so he could continue supporting his family’s needs.
Hartley, who followed the Liberal Studies curriculum at MCCC, says he knows he made the right decision.
“I very much loved everything I endured at Montco,” he said, noting that he worked year-round, including two jobs during summers, to pay his tuition. “It taught me so much. It’s given me a sense of independence and to respect the money that I have.”
After his first semester at MCCC, Hartley, while meeting with his advisor, Kristin Fulmer, learned about a full-tuition program at Bucknell University.
“I wouldn’t have known about it any other way,” Hartley said. “The opportunities have kind of just fallen into place.”
Hartley, along with four other Montgomery County Community College graduates, will transfer this fall to Bucknell as juniors on full-tuition scholarships as part of the Bucknell University Community College Scholars Program. He plans to transfer as a Sociology major, although unsure of his future career goals.
“I like talking to people. I’m an extrovert with some introvert tendencies,” he mused. “I have an ideology of professionally winging it. I don’t know what I’m doing so I seek every opportunity I can.”
And, in the sociology field, Hartley envisions countless opportunities.
“It gives us an understanding of how societies work and how communities develop,” he said. “Sociology has more options. I’m one who likes to have a lot of options.”
- Theresa Katalinas
Seth Hartley takes a selfie with his mom after MCCC's Commencement ceremony on May 19. Photo by David DeBalko