High School, College, and Career Combined
Campus News | Thursday, November 11, 2021
When Om Borkar ’21 entered Columbus State in the spring of 2020, he was presented with a different set of choices than the typical incoming student makes the summer before college. Instead of weighing meal plans and dorm room décor, the software developer in training found himself comparing multiple job offers from highly respected employers.
How did Borkar do it? The Dublin Jerome High School graduate took advantage of College Credit Plus at Columbus State. His success in the program allowed him to complete his freshman year of college while still in high school, and connected him to Columbus State’s IT Flexible Apprenticeship program.
From high school to college, to college and career combined, Borkar chose an accelerated, workforce-relevant and debt-free path to a college education and promising career. Borkar chose Columbus State.
Getting a Head Start
Having first learned of College Credit Plus his freshman year of high school, he opted to take multiple computer science courses his senior year through CCP at Columbus State, and then enroll at the College to complete his associate degree before transferring to OSU.
“I chose Columbus State because from junior year of high school I was planning to transfer to OSU,” Borkar recalled. “Another reason was the incredible amount of money I would save. I’m also the only person in my family to go to an American college, so I also wanted to get a feel for everything. I thought it would be good to get a head start.”
During his Intro to Programming class, Borkar discovered and soon enrolled in Columbus State’s IT Flexible Apprenticeship program, an innovative learning model that combines college and career by teaching students the fundamentals of their major and developing their employability skills during the first year of their studies. In their second year, following an interview process with potential employers, students complete their Associate of Applied Science degree courses while working as paid apprentices with select employer partners. Students are able to apply classroom knowledge and skills in a well-paid, on-the-job setting under the watchful eye of mentors and supportive Columbus State faculty and staff.
“As a high school senior during CCP, I took my computer science classes and went to all the workforce development classes and seminars where we worked on my resume and my interviewing skills,” Borkar explained. Graduating high school and approaching the midway point in his Software Developer AAS, the then-18-year-old found himself walking into college with two attractive apprenticeship offers from highly respected employers – Accenture and State Auto.
Saving Time and Money
In addition to earning a competitive wage as an apprentice with State Auto, Borkar took advantage of Columbus State’s many scholarship opportunities, like the full-tuition Choose Ohio First (CFO) scholarship. Borkar learned skills and knowledge he needed to launch his career, gained valuable professional experience to help him stand out in the job market, and graduated debt-free.
“And that's why I love Columbus State,” he said. “I could work and do school at the same time and have that efficiency there. I was also a CFO scholar, which was basically a full ride. So I didn’t have to worry about tuition or anything like that. It was awesome.”
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Borkar completed the State Auto apprenticeship and graduated Columbus State in summer 2021. He transferred to The Ohio State University, where he is currently completing his bachelor’s degree in Computers and Information Science. Borkar said his transition to OSU was smooth, with solid academic preparation and a leg up in professional experience and career readiness because of CCP and Columbus State. He plans to return to State Auto for summer internships and then pursue a career in a big tech hub like California, Texas, or even Columbus “because the city is providing a lot of opportunities” for him.
“At State Auto, I learned a lot about the industry, working with a lot of professionals there,” the young IT professional said. “I learned about the most modern technologies in the market right now. And when I went to Ohio State, I felt very well prepared to study there. With what I learned at Columbus State and through my apprenticeship, I felt really well prepared and ahead of the curve.”