Jerry (Gerald) St. James began planning for his future well
in advance when he decided to dual enroll at SC4 as a junior in high school,
and it paid off in a big way.
After completing his associate degree in science, he was
able to transfer close to 90 credits to the University of Michigan, helping him
get a jump start on his bachelor’s degree in biomolecular science, which he
will finish this semester.
The Marine City native has decided to stay at U-M, as he was
recently accepted into its pharmacology program, which he will begin in the
“I thought it was a good idea to start earning college
credit in high school so I could graduate faster,” he said. “A lot of the
classes I did take while I was in high school ended up transferring to the
University of Michigan, so I was able to take a lot of classes (at SC4) that I
would have had to take at U-M. I was able to save money and I significantly cut
into my debt that I’m going to have.”
St. James said he followed the transfer guide available on
U-M’s website and worked with SC4 advisors to ensure his classes transferred.
Matt Zeig, an academic advisor at SC4 who worked with St.
James, said if students want to ensure classes will transfer they need to
decide where they are going and what they are transferring for sooner rather
“Advisors understand picking a transfer college and degree
can be a tough decision and welcome undecided students. However, when
students are undecided they will want to make multiple campus visits and do
research into different areas of interest for a career to help narrow down
their choices. Being proactive in the decision making process will only benefit
them,” he said. “Jerry is a great example of a student being proactive by
meeting with advisors and following the transfer guides to ensure courses
will transfer and aid him at the next level.”
St. James noted most of the courses he took at the 200 level
or higher transferred easily to U-M. The 100 level courses transferred as well,
but as department credit.
St. James said he enjoyed his time at SC4, noting the smaller
class sizes were beneficial and helped him gain a good understanding of his
core classes before transferring to a bigger university.
“Here (U-M) you are in classes of 300 some people, and they
read a PowerPoint slide and move on,” St. James said. “And if you want to learn you have to go out
of your way, where at SC4, teachers go out of their way for you. It’s a big
He mentioned Joe Gibbons and Nick Goins specifically for
leaving a lasting impression on him.
“I had Joe for most of my chemistry classes (at SC4) and had
Nick for my calculus sequence. I really enjoyed their classes and they taught
me a lot,” he said.
St. James said one reason he chose to attend U-M was because
it is one of the few colleges in Michigan which has a rifle team. He recently served
as treasurer of the team, and will begin his term as president next year. He
gained a love of the sport after 10 years in 4H.
“This is Olympic style shooting … We travel the country
shooting and we recently went to Georgia for nationals and our team won this
year,” he said. “We are shooting with Olympians who will be competing in the
Rio summer games, so it’s a great experience and you learn a lot. We have one
of the best coaches in the state, if not country.”
U-M’s well-respected pharmacology program was another reason
St. James chose the college.
“I wanted to do something in the medical field and my aunt
is a pharmacist so I grew up around it and I felt it was the best fit for me in
terms of career goals and what I wanted to accomplish in my life,” he said. “I
got a job as a pharm tech right after SC4 and instantly loved it and reinforced
my wanting to become a pharmacist. I’m thinking of going into clinical pharm
and working at a hospital, but I haven’t narrowed it down to what I want to
St. James said SC4 proved to be a great place to get a jump
start on his education and said the college was also the starting point for his
“Both of my sisters went to SC4 and graduated from there,”
he said. “One went on to get her masters at Walsh and the other went to
Michigan State University and then on to Mississippi State and Illinois where
she earned two master’s degrees, one from each school. My mom also teaches math
What is St. James advice for current students? “The biggest thing
about SC4 is if you are using it as a transfer school you have to know which
classes will transfer and which will not. You need to know exactly what you
want to get out of SC4 and take advantage of what it has to offer. I got the
same education (at SC4) as I would have (at U-M).”