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From here to University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce

When Eric Richwine graduated from Ocean Lakes High School in 2010, he didn’t consider attending the University of Virginia.

“I had a 3.35 GPA and had taken a couple of AP classes, but no way I could have gotten into U.Va.,” he admitted.

In May, Richwine will graduate from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, consistently ranked among the nation’s best undergraduate business programs and the only program ranked either first or second in each of the eight years that Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked undergraduate programs.

Richwine credits TCC for paving the way. He received a pair of associate degrees – one in business administration and the other in emergency medical services – from the college in 2012.

Virginia is aggressively increasing the goals for admitting students from the Virginia Community College System; more than half of McIntire’s incoming transfer students are from the VCCS. Richwine believes his application was boosted by his ability to earn two associates in two years – made possible by his flexible class schedule at TCC. He worked as an EMT with the City of Virginia Beach while going to school.

“I almost appreciate the students’ input more at TCC just because people there have a lot more life experience to draw from,” he said. “At U.Va., there are a lot of students who seem like they’re still in high school. Having older students in the classroom at TCC really makes it worthwhile.”

Richwine worked as an EMT for the City of Virginia Beach.

Richwine enjoyed his relationships with several TCC’s professors. Using “Rate My Professor,” he chose in his words “the rock star professors at the college,” including Valerie Jones for statistics and Mym Fowler for anatomy and physiology.

“There are classes here at U.Va., that I’m taking that aren’t as good as my TCC classes in terms of quality of instructor,” he said. “Quality of instructor is very good here, but sometimes the professors are not as practical or approachable. It’s not like that at TCC.”

Richwine received the Shawn Michael Bryant Memorial Scholarship at the University of Virginia. He is pictured here surrounded by Christopher and Susan Bryant.

Another plus: Richwine won’t need to worry about finding a job after graduation. He has already been hired as a client service analyst for comScore, which provides data analytics for the Internet.

A Phi Theta Kappa member at TCC, Richwine is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national honor society for business, reserved for students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class at McIntire.

“There are students who were at U.Va., for all four years, and I’m going to leave with the exact same diploma they have,” he said. “And I’ve done it at something like half the cost.”

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