Campus News

'A college degree will always open more doors': How Keith Wynn empowers non-traditional students like himself

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 9, 2024) — For Keith Wynn, the assistant director of Transfer Recruitment at the University of Kentucky, the path to higher education was not a traditional one.

“In high school I was certainly not the best student. I didn’t take it seriously at all, so I dropped out of high school,” Wynn said. “After a few years of doing things like working in tobacco fields and delivering pizzas and things like that, I realized I wanted to do more.”

Determined to change his future, Wynn took the GED.

“For many years I did not want to admit that I had a GED. I would only disclose it if I needed to disclose it,” Wynn said. “There is a stigma associated with it because it is incredibly hard to go back and finish something that you didn’t finish to begin with.”

But he didn’t stop there. Imagining the possibility of pursing his undergraduate degree, Wynn also took the ACT and applied for college.

“I went to Morehead State University, changed my major seven or eight times because even though I was in college finally, I still had no idea what I wanted to do,” he said. “I also took some classes concurrently at Maysville Community College and then became a full transfer into Morehead and graduated from there in 2007.”

After college, Wynn became an admissions counselor where he discovered his passion for being in a student-centered field.

Wynn now helps transfer students, like himself, in their higher education journeys.

“When you are able to help somebody take a step that’s going to lead them down a road they never thought they would be able to go down, that is tremendously rewarding,” he said.

Wynn leads his students with the advice he wishes he could give his younger self.

“Do not limit yourself; do not put a ceiling above you where there does not need to be a ceiling. You can literally change the entire course of your family’s history by being the first one to take that step.”

He encourages his students to be proud of their non-traditional journeys and to reach out if they need help.

“Looking back, the GED is actually a more impressive accomplishment in my opinion, just because of the various hurdles you have to overcome in order to get it.”

Wynn wants transfer students to understand their value and the opportunities that await them at UK.

“We have over 200 degrees at UK, and we do not have a single bachelor’s degree that a transfer student cannot apply for and get admitted to — they have the same academic opportunity as any first-time freshman,” said Wynn. “What I will always argue is that a college degree will open more doors for you.”

See more about Wynn and his journey in the video above.

Find information about transfer admission at UK here.

Keith Wynn at the UK Transfer Fair. Carter Skaggs | UKphoto
Keith Wynn at the UK Transfer Fair. Carter Skaggs | UKphoto

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.