It took Angie Hagan, a 2001 D.C. Everest High School graduate, over a decade before she found the confidence to enroll in college. Her motivation to do so was to create a better future for her children.
So with encouragement from a friend, in the spring of 2013, she met with a Student Affairs advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County (UWMC) to explore her educational options. It’s a step this single mother of three from Kronenwetter doesn’t regret, as she’s since found a supportive, educational home at UWMC, which has served thousands of Marathon County residents since 1933 when it opened as an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I wanted to go to college since I graduated from high school, but it took me 10 years to decide to enroll.” says Hagan, who is taking 16 credits this semester, works three part-time jobs and has a 3.6 GPA. “I didn’t want the life I had without an education. I want my kids to see that if you don’t like the way your life is, then you need to make a change. UWMC made it possible for me to live that dream and to be a role model for my kids.
“When I first started looking into college, I didn’t think I was UW material. I was terrified that I wasn’t smart enough,” says Hagan. “I looked into Globe and Rasmussen, but they didn’t offer what I was looking for. I didn’t want online classes because I learn better in a classroom setting.”
Hagan isn’t unlike a lot of UWMC students. She grew up in a working-class family, and she is a first-generation college student.
Fifty-nine percent of new freshmen at UWMC are first-generation collegians, and they come from all corners of the county, driving an average of 15 miles from their residences to UWMC.
Nearly 1,100 students currently attend UWMC. Of these students:
75% are Marathon County residents
16% of new freshmen are minorities
26 % are 22 or older
43% are part-time
66% receive financial aid
As for Hagan, she credits UWMC for helping her get started on her bachelor’s degree. “I love the smaller, more welcoming campus. My professors have been wonderful; they’ve been really understanding and have worked with me when things outside of school have affected my ability to get to class or get an assignment in on time.
“In addition, the support programs have been outstanding,” says Hagan, who plans to major in business finance and accounting after completing her associate’s degree at UWMC. “I have actively worked with the folks in the TRIO program to improve my math and writing skills. They’ve not only helped me to understand the material better, but they have been so supportive.
“By starting college at UWMC, my confidence has really grown, and I know I am on the right career path. I’m not sure I would be as confident in my ability to do college-level work if I had started at a bigger campus.”