Getting an early start on your college education can lead to great things, including a successful career. That was the case for Jennifer Harmon who began her college career at North Central State College and worked her way through law school at The Ohio State University to become a lawyer in Richland County.
She began as a College Credit Plus student from 2011-2013. She was able to start her college class while she was still in high school. “The flexibility as a high school student, who always had to be at school at 7:30 a.m., made taking classes at NC State College very appealing,” Harmon explains. “It was very exciting to have the ability to make my schedule.”
In the CCP program, students in grades 7-12 can take courses at Ohio Public Colleges at no cost earning both high school and college credit. Funding is also provided to private and home school students. The CCP classes are offered at local high school as well as on the North Central State College campus or online.
It wasn’t only the scheduling that made her enjoy her time on campus, but also the fact that she was able to begin college classes before most of her high school classmates.
“NC State was incredibly important to the development of my life and career. It afforded me the opportunity to obtain an associate degree prior to graduating high school,” Harmon says. “Because of that, I was able to finish my bachelor’s in business administration at Ohio State in two years and then graduate from law school in 2018. That’s the year I would have been starting it in the first place.”
Harmon was surprised by the class she enjoyed most on campus. “English composition, with professor Thomas Shields,” she exclaims. “He was an incredible teacher who advanced my writing abilities beyond what I would have thought possible.” She attributes many of her successes in legal writing due to the fact that Shields established an incredibly strong foundation for her writing skills.
Harmon’s goal wasn’t always to practice law, instead, she wanted to be a business owner. “My initial goal starting out was to graduate with an MBA/JD and had planned to start my own business. After I began law school, I realized I wanted to practice law, focusing on business law, sales, and contracts as well as criminal defense,” Harmon says. “I chose to forget the additional year for the MBA and opted for a year of experience as an attorney instead.
Harmon now practices law in downtown Mansfield at JRH Law, Ltd. She chose to return to the Mansfield area to be closer to friends and family. She says North Central State College also felt like home to her. She encourages anyone looking to enhance their education to take a sincere look at the campus.
“NC State is the starting point for a lot of careers, and that is fantastic. I am a big proponent of the practical training and certifications also offered. When I began as a high school student, I was in a position where I wanted to eventually have a professional degree. Students need to realize that at any point in their life, no matter what the circumstances are, by having an associate degree, you are setting yourself up to be in the best possible position.”