According to a recent rank by College Choice, Southern Adventist University has the fourth best automotive technology program in the United States.
The list compiles the top ten universities to get an automotive technology degree, which also ranks Walla Walla University as number nine.
According to the College Choice website, the aspects taken into consideration when ranking a program include its nationwide reputation, graduation and retention rates, affordability and first salaries for graduates.
The ranking mentions some of the classes and areas in which students can gain knowledge, which include engine performance and computers, auto electrical systems and arc welding. The article also mentioned Southern as one of the best universities in the region as judged by U.S. News & World Report and one of “The best in the Southeast,” according to The Princeton Review.
The automotive program has also ranked as number five according to The Best Schools.
“I chose Southern because it is one of the top ten schools in automotive in the country,” said Valden Gardiner, recent Southern graduate with a BT Auto Service Management Degree. “Usually most tech-vocational community colleges [are] very large. So, at a smaller private university the teacher can much better understand students, and I was able to ask questions one on one.”
According to Southern’s website, the “department offers comprehensive coursework” between modern vehicles and construction management.
“One of my favorite things about the program is that it is very hands on,” Gardiner said. “The program gives you real world experience, and you get to work on vehicles. The lab projects are 70 percent of your grade, so you have to be working in the shop.”
In order to help students gain experience, the Automotive Program has a “fully equipped 10-bay shop,” according to Southern’s website. The facility is equipped to do big and small automotive projects. While students are assigned a personal toolbox to keep their smaller materials in, the shop has a variety of technological equipment such as computer diagnostics units and valve grinding equipment..
“[The materials] helped me gain experience in all aspects of the automotive. I was able to work on different kinds of vehicles and practice with every machine, tools and equipment in the shop,” Gardiner said. “The automotive program allows me to think. And, it is more of a critical thinking program because you have to learn to diagnose and troubleshoot.”
The automotive program currently offers three different types of degrees, which include a bachelor in technology, an associate in technology and a minor in auto service technology.
I think this makes Southern very unique because most tech colleges don’t offer a four-year degree,” Gardiner said. “If you want to have your own shop, then you are able to learn business and auto mechanics.”