Tri-County’s First Pre-Pharmacy Grad Accepted into Pharmacy School
CONTACT: LISA GARRETT, 646-1506
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/11/2008
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- India native Ronak Patel’s first college experience in America was taking the Pre-Pharmacy curriculum at Tri-County Technical College. “I made a great choice by going the two-year route to prepare for my degree in Pharmacy,” said 22-year-old Patel, who is Tri-County’s first Pre-Pharmacy grad to be accepted into pharmacy school.
“I’ve had a great experience. The instructors are willing to help you and to listen,” said Patel, who is among the 110 students accepted at the S.C. College of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina.
“This says a lot for him and for Tri-County Technical College,” said Danny West, a pharmacist at CVS in Clemson and an adjunct instructor for the Pre-Pharmacy program. “I’m extremely proud of Ronak. I know he will do well. He is energetic, curious, innovative and dedicated,” said West, who added these are also the qualities that will make Patel a good pharmacist.
Tri-County’s Science Department Head Galen DeHay agrees: “Ronak is a naturally inquisitive student who has a zeal for learning. He's going to be a wonderful pharmacist."
Last year Tri-County began offering the prerequisite courses needed to apply for entrance into the S.C. College of Pharmacy (campuses located in Charleston and Columbia). This new two-year program, titled Occupational Technology with a concentration in Pre-Pharmacy, is a mix of online and traditional courses, said Dr. Lynn Lewis, dean of Tri-County’s Health Education Division.
The curriculum gives students the courses they need to have before they can apply to the S.C. College of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Lewis. “It gives students the same opportunities to apply to enter the School of Pharmacy that a four-year college or university would -- at a fraction of the cost,” she said.
Tri-County is first technical college in the State to offer this package of classes, and it’s the first time that Tri-County’s Arts and Sciences and Health Education divisions have collaborated to offer a degree program.
“Although no one can guarantee acceptance into the S.C. College of Pharmacy, our new program gives students increased access and opportunity to apply and matriculate, and that just makes sense economically,” said Dr. Lewis.
The cost savings, as well as the smaller classes, are a real plus, Patel said.
Patel, who speaks English fluently, studied in India for two years before he and his family moved to the United States and settled in South Carolina.
“My uncle brought me to Tri-County, and I signed up that day. I chose Tri-County because of the Pre-Pharmacy major and because it was affordable.” First he received a Pell grant, and the next semester he applied for lottery tuition assistance. He received the full amount -- $912 which paid for his entire tuition. A $1,000 Mary Davis endowed scholarship from the Foundation paid for his books. “The lottery tuition assistance and the scholarship made college an option for me. It determined how many hours I would have to work and that positively affected my GPA,” said Patel.
“I tell my friends, if you want a good college experience, go to a community college.”
Pharmacy is a wide-open field, said West. Statistics show by the year 2020, there will be a projected shortfall of 157,000 pharmacists in the United States.