Lexi Marks, a rising senior at Auburn University, started her journey with higher education at Wallace State Community College in her sophomore year of high school.  

“In the 10th grade, I applied to the Fast Track Academy program at Wallace State Community College and got in,” Marks said. “The program allowed me to be like any other student at Wallace State and attend classes to earn credit toward my degree.”

It was because of the Fast Track Academy program that Marks was able to spend her last two years of high school attending classes solely at Wallace State, simultaneously earning high school and college credit. At the end of her time at Wallace State, Marks completed her associate degree in general studies with honors, having been a part of multiple honor societies, including Phi Theta Kappa. 

“That period of time helped me learn more about myself. I learned more about what my academic and personal interests are while also figuring out more about who I want to be as a person,” said Marks. 

Prior to attending Wallace State Community College, Marks had considered multiple pathways and career options. It wasn’t until she began her course work in the general studies program that she discovered where her interests lay.  

I got to take many different classes under general studies that had a wide range to allow me to explore topics that I was currently interested in or curious about. I knew after taking several biology classes that I wanted to study health and figured out I wanted to study nutrition,” Marks said. 

Benefits Marks experienced from attending community college – in addition to starting college early – included affordability. Today, Marks urges high school students to consider the advantages of starting their higher education at a community college before leaping into a four-year university. 

“Going to community college saved me so much money and was a really good step for me before going to university. Going to community college first has made me the student I am today,” she said.