Sophomore Sam Hockwalt said attending Ivy Tech was the best way for him to save money and stay connected to his community.
Hockwalt, who wants to be a naturalist for the Department of Natural Resources, plans on attending Ivy Tech’s Anderson campus for two years before transferring to Ball State University to complete his bachelor’s degree in natural resources.
Hockwalt first began considering Ivy Tech his sophomore year when an Ivy Tech representative spoke to his school about the benefits of attending community college. He said he was so impressed by the presentation that when people began asking about his college plans, Ivy Tech was always a part of that conversation.
“It went from a quick answer, to an easy question, to my actual plan pretty quick,” Hockwalt said.
The main reason Hockwalt said he wanted to attend Ivy Tech was because of the financial benefits.
Both of Hockwalt’s parents attended Ball State for four years of college. Over 20 years later they are still paying off their student loans.
Because Hockwalt plans on working in a lower-paying job, he said he does not want to make the same mistake and go into the workforce with crippling student loan debt.
“I know that I am eventually going to get some student loan debt, but I want it to be as little as possible,” Hockwalt said.
In addition to the financial benefits, Hockwalt said he believes he is receiving a top-notch education from professors who really care for their students.
“There is no difference in what I am learning here than what I would be learning at Ball State, other than money,” Hockwalt said. “The short-term boost in notoriety that I would get from going to a four-year college for all four years, is not equivalent to the monetary expenditure that it would take to have that little boost.”
Hockwalt is currently completing general studies classes at Ivy Tech, but he said he still feels he is learning important life skills through classes such as personal finance and physical science.
“I haven’t had a single class yet that I can look back on and be like, ‘That was a waste of time,’” Hockwalt said.
One of his favorite classes this past year was earth and space science.
One of the reasons he said he enjoyed the class was because the professor was very hands-on, and their labs were more about the real-world applications and less about filling out worksheets.
“The professor was very into what he was doing, and he made it very fun for us,” Hockwalt said.
Hockwalt said there are also multiple advantages to staying close to home. Because he did not need to leave his home or move far away, he said he experienced an easy transition to college life and was able to focus more on his schooling.
“I’m getting the experience of how to do my classes without also having to juggle living with roommates and all that,” said Hockwalt.
Ivy Tech is also very active in the community, said Hockwalt. In addition to being located in Anderson, Ivy Tech has also hosted certain events in attempt to reach out and connect with the community.
“It’s nice to have some community interaction from the staff,” Hockwalt said. “That kind of stuff is just uplifting.”
One of these events is the Welcome to College Gala, which invites students from Madison County to visit and explore what Ivy Tech has to offer. Hockwalt himself attended the event last year.
Hockwalt said that all things considered, Ivy Tech was the best place for him, and he is very happy with the results.
“No matter how you look at it, the positives outweigh the negatives in every way,” Hockwalt said.