From high-school dropout to future neurosurgeon: College tips from an extraordinary student

Man in blue shirt
BBCC Alumnus Timothy Woodiwiss

By Katherine Long, Seattle Times

Earlier this month, dozens of wealthy parents were charged in a college-admissions scheme that involved bribes, lies and test fraud to try to get their progeny into some of the nation’s top colleges. 

The parents who allegedly pulled those strings seemed to believe that if their children didn’t go to the “right” school, they’d miss out on life’s opportunities.

But here’s the thing: Life’s opportunities can also be earned by going to a community college. Just ask Timothy Woodiwiss.

Woodiwiss, who grew up in an Eastern Washington town, dropped out of high school at 16 to work at McDonald’s in Ritzville, Adams County, where he hoped to one day become the manager. A few years later, he returned to a community college to earn an associate degree. Over the next dozen years, he joined the Washington Army National Guard and was deployed in New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina) and Iraq, then earned his bachelor’s at Washington State University. Against all odds, he was accepted to medical school at the University of Washington. He graduates May 24.

Two weeks ago, as the college scandal crawled across chyrons on cable news, Woodiwiss, 32, learned that he’d been accepted to a medical residency in neurosurgery at the University of Iowa. He starts June 24.

What was his secret? It certainly wasn’t multimillion-dollar donations to a prestigious school or faking his SAT scores — Woodiwiss never took the SAT, and neither of his parents went to college. He was the 6th child in a family of 12, and money was tight. He launched his academic career at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.

“I absolutely wouldn’t be here without Big Bend,” said Woodiwiss, who won an award as one of the most inspiring community college students from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in 2016.

To read the full story, visit the Seattle Times website HERE!

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