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Why College? Just Ask These College Students

It’s a common sentiment these days to be skeptical of the value of a college degree. The time commitment, cost of tuition and lack of a job guarantee all make it a challenge for anyone regardless of their life circumstances.

But we spoke with 6 adult students who, despite those obstacles, believe a college education is the best path towards achieving their career goals. Here’s who they are, what they’re working towards, and why college is for them.

Emily Dean

Goal: To become a HR Generalist.

Why College: When I decided to go back to school to get a degree or certificate in Human Resources, I spoke with an advisor at Harper College about my options. They introduced me to the Fast Track Program, which is perfect for students with a full-time job like me.


Patricia Rodisch

Goal: To own my own bakery or become a director of Human Resources

Why College: I want a career where I can make a difference in people’s lives. I would love to one day own my own bakery, but if I can't make a difference with pastries, I would love to make a difference in the world of HR. This is why I decided college was the right path for me. Harper College offers not only affordable tuition, but a program that allows me as a full-time worker to further my education without having to commit to a set day and time for classes.


Brian Leatherby

Goal: To begin a career in business management and administration

Why College: I currently work for a school district doing technical theater and I hit a point where there was no more career advancement for me unless I went back to school and got a degree. I'd like to one day be on the administrative end of the district and support students from an operations standpoint, so pursuing a business administration degree at Harper via the Fast Track Program felt like the right move. I was nervous about it at first, but it’s not as difficult or daunting as I thought it was going to be—you just have to take that first step.


Barbara Fontana

Goal: To advance in my current place of work

Why College: I hope to be able to grow within my current company and into management which would require a college degree. Going back to school was something I’d wanted to do for many years but never found the right opportunity. But I’m doing it now because it’s the right time and Fast Track is the perfect program for me.


Mona Ochana

Goal: To be a Human Resources Manager

Why College: With human resources, you can start as a generalist and climb the ranks. I saw that Harper had a human resources certificate you could complete in a year, which was great as I didn’t want to be in school for another two or three years. And it was affordable and all online, which worked even better because I’m a single mom and can’t really stop working.


Kathleen Ulincy-Khatib

Goal: To have a career in inventory management in the cannabis industry

Why College: I’ve been slowly engineering a midlife career change. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to get into the cannabis industry. I took some classes to facilitate that move and have been working part time at a dispensary ever since. That was a good fit for a while, but I’m interested in growing with the industry in an inventory management or supply chain role. I looked at a lot of colleges to help me on that path but chose Harper because of its Fast Track Program and the flexibility it affords with my busy home and work life.

College isn’t the right avenue for all people. But for many it’s the surest pathway to that dream career. Learn more about the Fast Track Program at Harper College.

Last Updated: 4/24/24