"I got my GED because I did drop out of high school," Porter said.
Porter decided to enroll in the Community College of Denver.
"You don't have SAT scores or ACT scores to help your entrance into a university, so you really have to start a community college," Porter said.
Like other students at community colleges, Porter was not sure of where this path would take her. Can she get into a four-year college? Would she ever get a bachelor's degree?
"You don't even know to start thinking those thoughts. You know that you have to think about transferring credits, but how? Is it a piece of paper? Is it a meeting at an office?" Porter said.
That is why the University of Colorado Denver and the Colorado Community College System announced an agreement called the CC to CU Denver Admission Promise. Students from the community colleges in the Denver metro area can transfer seamlessly into the CU Denver system to obtain a Bachelor's degree.
"Just seemed like it was such a natural thing that we should do," Jerry Wartgow, chancellor of CU Denver, said. "So, we decided to do it."
First-time freshmen from Community College of Denver, Community College of Aurora, Red Rocks Community College, Arapahoe Community College, and Front Range Community College now have guaranteed admission into CU Denver as long they maintain a 2.75 grade point average.
The program would also provide academic advisors from CU Denver who will guide students through a four-year education process.
"There's a lot of thought process that only advisors can see the big picture because we're only looking at bits and pieces at a time," Porter said.
Porter is an example of what students can achieve. She transferred and is now a senior at CU Denver graduating with a marketing degree in May. She says this opportunity is invaluable to students in community colleges.
"I think some people do miss out on the opportunity because of admissions and whatnot, so if they get a foot up by starting in the community college process but still having the university back them up and make sure they're on the right path," Porter said.
The biggest factor may be money. For example, a full-time student at the Community College of Denver will pay $3,176 in tuition per year. That same student would pay $6,776 per year. Now, students can save about $3,200 a year by taking classes at community colleges instead of UC Denver. The end result of a bachelor's degree in four years could be the same.
Chancellor Wartgow says he is not worried about losing potential students to community colleges in their freshman and sophomore years.
"We hope that we will get them as juniors if they start over there," Wartgow said. "So, there's different devices and people fit in better in different places."
Wartgow and Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado system, say they want to support the higher purpose of opening a pathway for more people to obtain four-year degrees.
"I think this is what all of us in higher education should be working toward," Benson said.
Porter says she's excited that community college students now have a better and cheaper way to obtain a bachelor's degree.
"I have a younger brother. I hope he can see me and follow the same path," Porter said. "I hope my friends can see me and follow the same path."
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)