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Hinds CC Students Flock to Mississippi College

Mississippi College senior Jonathan Bethea, a chemistry major

Plenty of Hinds Community College Eagles are landing at Mississippi College.

Simply put, Hinds CC transfers are soaring in numbers at the nearby Clinton campus. There were 56 Hinds transfer students enrolled at the Baptist-affiliated university in 2015. The total rose to 78 ex-Hinds students at MC in 2016.

Transferring from Hinds, Mississippi’s biggest two-year college, to MC has been a tradition for generations. School officials are pleased with the latest enrollment uptick. With locations in Raymond, Jackson, Utica, Pearl and Vicksburg, Hinds CC opened its doors a century ago.

Students like Jonathan Bethea, 23, see the merits of going to Hinds for one diploma and making the short commute to Mississippi College to earn another degree. The MC senior lives between Raymond and Edwards in Hinds County.

Convenience, excellent teachers, and strong academic programs at both institutions made it a no-brainer for Jonathan to go from Hinds Eagle to MC Choctaw. Family tradition was another factor.

Jonathan’s dad, along with five siblings are Hinds Community College graduates. His 16-year-old brother, Chambers, is next in line to attend Hinds CC. A chemistry major at Mississippi College, Jonathan hopes to use his bachelor’s degree to find work overseas after he graduates from the Clinton campus in May 2018. Down the road, he wants to pursue a doctorate and become a college instructor.

“I love chemistry,” Jonathan says. “And I love teaching.”

Jonathan Bethea is gaining valuable teaching experiences along his journey. He’s mentoring classmates as a Blue & Gold leader at Mississippi College. For five weeks this summer, he’s working at Camp Down Range led by MC grad C.J. Stewart, a wounded Army medic serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

Jonathan returns to the classroom in late August to begin his senior year as an MC Choctaw. “I love that it’s close to home,” he said. “It’s a beautiful campus. But that’s insignificant without the people. I can talk to my professors about academics, travel and the world.”

MC faculty keep their office doors open. And that was true for Hinds Community College instructors. They helped the former Hinds tennis player and Phi Theta Kappa campus chapter president get prepared for MC. His dad, John Bethea, older sister, Joy, younger brother, Peter, and two younger sisters, MaryKelli and Lizette, were always around to offer guidance as Hinds grads.

A member of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Jonathan enjoys his transition to America’s second oldest college for other reasons. “A lot of people have purpose for their lives. Mississippi College being a Christian university is a bonus.”

Homeschooled, with his mom, JoyLynn serving as his teacher, proved to be a educational plus for Jonathan. He comes from a family of nine children.

The Hinds-MC pipeline worked well for 2015 Pisgah High graduate Sloan Session. The 19-year-old Sandhill resident is on track to get his degree in accounting at MC in May 2018.

His teachers at Hinds Community College’s Rankin campus in Pearl got his ready to tackle his Mississippi College studies. On the Rankin campus, “my accounting professor was tough as nails. But I was way ahead at MC.”

Earning his MBA at Mississippi College could be next on his career path.

There are other factors boosting the number of Hinds transfers at MC. A few years ago, school leaders signed a two plus two agreement. The partnership offers a more convenient way for Hinds students to pursue a bachelor’s degree at MC at an accelerated pace.

Geared towards working adults over age 25, the program allows students to earn degrees in business administration, communication and sociology during classes two evenings per week at Mississippi College.

Hinds isn’t the only two-year school with many alums taking MC classes. New reports show 51 Holmes Community College transfers attending Mississippi College in 2016. There were 14 Copiah-Lincoln Community College transfers at MC in 2016. Overall, MC officials reported a record of 315 new transfers from all institutions in Fall 2016.

Co-Lin Wesson campus transfers include MC Lady Choctaws basketball standout Kelley Allen. The former Puckett High hoops player is a 21-year-old senior majoring in kinesiology at Mississippi College.