Zach Blanchard tried college right after high school but quickly dropped out. He trained to become a machinist, then wanted to travel the world.
He taught scuba diving in Thailand and Hawaii, and then worked in the ski industry in his home state of Vermont. He headed to New Zealand for a ski job.
Back in Vermont again, Zach committed to finishing his degree. Scuba diving and skiing was great, but he needed a better income and a job that interested him.
Now in his 30s, Zach landed at Vermont Tech because of its affordability.
Faculty have made him stay at Vermont Tech over choosing a more traditional engineering college, since hands-on isn’t a criteria for his education.
“The faculty are fantastic. They really want you to learn. They are engaging, and they care about students,” he says.
The student support service staff have made a difference as well, helping him navigate financial aid.
Zach was pleasantly surprised by his easy transition back to college. Although math and science have always been some of his strongest subjects, he didn’t know what to expect after being out of school for over a decade. He’s proud that he ended up with a 4.0 in math and science his first semester.
Now he helps tutor other students in math and science as a Center for Academic Success (CAS) mentor.
Overall, he’s glad he chose Vermont Tech. “I feel like my degree will be worth it in the end. Although I’ve taken out loans to go to school, I’m getting a great degree from a great college that’s affordable. I’m confident I can get a good-paying job, and I won’t have $80,000 or $100,000 in loans when I finish school.”