For Jonah Zwinger (’20), the decision to pursue an Information Systems Technology (IST) degree from Mitchell Tech came down to the numbers and ended in a major pay-off.
“I was really stuck between spending four years and $30,000 to $40,000 a year to get a Bachelor’s degree, or attend Mitchell Tech and pay less than half of that, go for two years and be to work in half as long,” the Dimock, S.D. native said.
So, he decided to get two years of schooling under his belt and see where things went.
“I knew I didn’t want to spend my first year doing general education classes – basically a continuation of high school. My first day, I was hands-on, dealing with computers and getting into the weeds of what the program is. You don’t have that preliminary period of taking classes you don’t want to take,” he said.
And, once he got to campus, Zwinger quickly realized the IST program offered as much as – or more than – the other college he had considered, as far as program-specific training.
“It was a completely different atmosphere than I expected,” he said. “You build that foundation and just keep building off it,” with student interests and industry needs directing workflow.
“There was structure, but, at the same time, there wasn’t, and I thrived in that. We weren’t following a hardcore, by-the-book curriculum. We focused on what was important in industry and what students wanted to learn.”
He thrived so much, in fact, that the student who earned Cs and Ds most of his high school career was making As the whole way through college.
“Once you get to college and you are doing the things you’re passionate about, school becomes easy,” he said. “In high school, I didn’t apply myself. When I got to Mitchell Tech, I loved what I was doing. It made it seem like I wasn’t trying, but, yet, I was trying as hard as I could. You had to work hard in class.”
Today, Zwinger applies what he learned at Mitchell Tech as an IT specialist for Vantage Point Solutions in Mitchell.