Friday, August 12, 2011

Featured Learner Series: Amanda Eades takes on textbooks and tiaras on her path to degree completion

Amanda at a Philadelphia 76ers game with Peirce
The path to degree completion for most adult learners usually doesn't include a stop at the Miss New Jersey USA pageant. But Amanda Eades hasn't had the typical journey.

Amanda lived with her grandparents growing up, and as you might expect, money was tight. Despite that, she worked tirelessly to earn straight A's in high school, because she was determined to better herself and go to college. Thanks to her outstanding grades, Amanda received a scholarship to Burlington County Community College. There she earned her associate degree in accounting.

After graduating, Amanda entered the workforce at Charming Shoppes. One day at work, she attended a seminar where representatives from local colleges (including Peirce) presented their school's options. Once again, her love of education connected with her understanding that it is the key to getting ahead.

She started calling around to see if she could find a school that would accommodate her lifestyle, keeping Peirce in mind. Finally, she made the call, and had this to say about her first conversation with Peirce:
“The staff is wonderful … a lot of colleges I looked into didn’t have the scholarships offered that Peirce did … and also the staff is great too because at a lot of major colleges, I just kept getting transferred around so I wasted a couple months of my time … not getting the questions answered. At Peirce they answered every single question I had.”
That feeling of confidence and comfort led her to meet with the financial services department at Peirce. They helped her figure out whether or not she could afford to go back to school, and once that was confirmed, how she would manage it. Better still, financial services found Amanda five scholarships to make her education plan affordable. She has since made the most of her educational experience, finding great success in the classroom and being inducted as a member of Delta Mu Delta, the International Honor Society in Business Administration.

Amanda is adamant about one detail in particular that made it possible for her to back to school. While looking at other colleges in the area, she says that it was difficult to find a single staff member to answer all of her questions. But she didn't have that problem at Peirce. She spoke to one person who gave the answers to all her questions, and the next thing she knew, she was on her way to earning her degree.

Today, Amanda is a few semesters away from walking across the stage at graduation to receive her bachelor's degree in business administration. But before that exciting day, Amanda will have one more stage to walk across -- the stage at the Miss New Jersey pageant taking place this October.

Even with the pageant, Amanda's focus is on her education, because it isn't the idea of a tiara and sash that makes her want to compete. The top five contestants will get a scholarship of $45,600.

Beyond her education, career goals, and the Miss New Jersey pageant, what's most important to Amanda is that she gets the chance to share her story with other young people. Good luck Amanda, and we hope that you have room in your trophy case for both a tiara and a diploma!