WHAT'S NEXT: Royshawn McClain on Four-Year Degrees

By Lydia McAllister on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Amanda Cordell

Royshawn McClain

Age: 19 | Hometown: St. Louis | Graduation year: 2021 | Attending: Philander Smith College | Working toward: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in cybersecurity | End goal: Become a Cybersecurity Analyst

Royshawn McClain has been tinkering around with computers ever since he was little. The St. Louis native became even more passionate about computers when he joined his high school’s robotics team. After high school, McClain was awarded the Philander Smith College Presidential Scholarship, which covered his tuition, fees and room and board.

He’s working toward a degree in computer science with an emphasis in cybersecurity at Philander Smith.

McClain’s main reason for attending a four-year college was the scholarship opportunities. Another great aspect of larger colleges and universities is the endless networking opportunities, which helped him land a summer internship with Simmons Bank in their IT apprenticeship program.

“Growing up, my dream was to become a detective, but ultimately, I decided to combine my two interests,” McClain says. “What do you get when you combine a love for IT and detective work? Cybersecurity.”

Philander Smith’s cybersecurity program is a new offering at the college. McClain says he enjoys the enthusiasm among both the staff and the students. And for McClain, the industry provides an exciting future with endless potential.

“There is endless potential in it, and because of that, I believe unique innovations will continue to be sparked from within this field,” he says. “For instance, cryptocurrency, where people can make money transactions without physical bills, is still relatively new. From bitcoins and Apple Pay, it’s exciting to see how the industry is changing with new technology.”

(See more about cybersecurity at Jobs In Demand!)


Most bachelor’s programs are on a four-year track, but how long it takes is up to you. Take caution: An overloaded class schedule can stretch you too thin and result in bad grades. Simultaneously, some scholarships require a certain number of credit hours per semester and only last four years. Find an on-campus academic adviser to help you plan.

The average yearly tuition and fees for in-state students enrolled full-time at a public four-year college were $19,080 in 2018-19.* Private college tuition and fees cost more — $46,680 in 2018-19.* Fortunately, scholarships, loans and grants are available wherever you go.

Universities typically require a high school diploma and a set minimum GPA and ACT or SAT scores.
housing Most four-year colleges offer multiple options including dorms and apartments.

There’s just so much to experience. Think dorm living, study abroad, Greek life, a wider variety of majors, extensive career resources and networking opportunities, amazing libraries and research facilities, state-of-the-art rec centers, music and theater performances, sports and more!

*SOURCE: CollegeBoard.org

This option is for you if:
You want the traditional college experience.
Dorm life doesn’t scare you.
You plan to pledge or rush.

"What do you get when you combine a love for IT and detective work? Cybersecurity."

– Royshawn

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