Thomas Sims

natural posed headshot image of tom

Transferred From: Austin Community College-Hays and Bossier Parrish Community College

Major/Minor: General studies major with minors in agriculture, criminal justice and geography

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Post-Grad Plans: Pursue master's at Texas State in order to become a professor

Fun Fact: United States Army and Coast Guard veteran, has the most beautiful service dog in the world named Srebrenica

Where are you from?

I'm originally from Dallas, but traveled all over the world while serving in the U.S. Army and Coast Guard. I was medically retired after 17 years of service in 2014. My wife and I now live in San Marcos and own land in Red Rock, Texas. 

What led you to higher education after military retirement?

I'm a 100 percent permanent and totally disabled veteran per the VA and first attended school simply to get out of the house. It isn't overkill to say that I found some measure of salvation in academia. As an older, nontraditional student, I love to learn for the sake of learning, and I think that my experience brings a different viewpoint to the classroom, and at the same time I learn from the younger students, which keeps my mind fresh and relevant. I can no longer do the physical serving as I was medically discharged, but my brain still works. After finishing my undergrad and master's, I would like to serve by teaching criminal justice at a community college.

Did you always plan to transfer?

I finished the last semester of my associate degree at Bossier Parrish Community College in Louisiana. When we moved back to Texas, I knew I wanted to continue my education. We chose to live in San Marcos because of Texas State. We thought about Florida, but you can’t beat Central Texas (besides a few days over 100 degrees).

What attracted you to Texas State?

Actually, I used to be a boarding student at the San Marcos Academy and had fond memories of San Marcos and seeing Old Main as we drove through town. I was accepted to both UT and Texas State, but came here based on the programs and interactions with the faculty and staff. When I learned about the Bachelor of General Studies and agriculture minor, that sealed the deal as we had recently bought land and I wanted to learn how to better manage it. Texas State has an outstanding agriculture program, and we have professors in the classroom who are leaders in their field.

Plus, I hadn’t been on campus in 24 years, but when I came back it felt like home — a warm feeling of welcome. Texas State is big, but it doesn't feel too big. All of these things helped me make my decision.

How was the transfer process?

My ACC Hays classes transferred over directly. The Louisiana classes didn't transfer as smoothly, but the advisors within University College were my biggest advocates in helping transfer as many credits as possible.

At my previous colleges, it was not always clear to me that I could visit with advisors as part of my application process or even as a student. Texas State advertises to us when we should go meet with advisors — there are so many resources, and the advisors really engage with you.

Did anything in particular help smooth the transition to Texas State?

Bobcat Bond set me up with a mentor on campus who is also a veteran with PTSD. This program does a great job of matching you with someone who has similar experiences and interests. He has been very helpful in walking me through the registration process and more. We now meet up regularly.

Additionally, the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and Academic Testing for Students with Disabilities (ATSD) are the most accessible programs of their kind that I have encountered in higher education. The ODS staff are amazing. They make it easy to ask for help, which isn't easy for some of us to do. They want to see students reach their maximum potential, not just "get by."

How did you get involved on campus as a transfer?

I made myself join a student organization. As a transfer student, and especially a nontraditional student, it's easy to head home immediately after class. But I joined the Ag Systems Association, and it's turned out to be pretty cool!

As a veteran, I'm also a part of the Veterans Alliance of Texas State (VATS) and take advantage of the Veterans Tutor Corps. There are so many resources here for veterans; it helps to bring us all together.

What does it mean to you to Be a Bobcat?

I just smile — I can't even explain it. I'm extremely proud to be a Bobcat. Texas State is a people, not an institution. They care.

What's your advice to transfer students considering Texas State?

Get involved outside of class. Learning doesn't just happen in the classroom. Come prepared and make it easy for people to say "yes."

Particularly if you're a veteran, take advantage of the Veterans Tutor Corps and early registration! It makes a huge difference. ⭑