Thursday, November 30, 2017

Peirce’s Competency-Based Education Program Is Just What Malik Hadi Needed

Malik Hadi had landed his dream job working in Information Technology for the City of Philadelphia. He started to grow in the organization and position but came to a shocking realization one day when he began interviewing new potential employees.

During interviews, Malik asked about experience, certifications and degrees, yet when he took a step back, he realized he himself didn’t hold the degree he was looking for in the candidates.

“I interview new hires where I always ask about certifications and degrees and there I was…without a degree,” says Malik. “So for the younger people coming into IT, it is considered important for them to have a degree, so I knew it needed to be important to me, as well.”

This was a moment of truth. A moment when Malik decided it was time to return to school.

Malik had always wanted to earn his bachelor’s degree. He attended college at the traditional age for a little over a year, but he wasn’t quite ready to complete his degree just yet. “You come to a point where you completely lose focus and track of what you want to do. I didn’t devote the attention to the work it needed,” says Malik of his first college experience.

Now in his second time around, he knows he’s ready. Malik just needed to find the right school to fit his work and life balance. He has a wife and a 5 year old, so he needed some form of flexibility with his education. He found it at Peirce College.

Thanks to a fellow co-worker, Malik was introduced to Peirce’s Competency-Based Education (CBE) program where he would be able to do all his work online while being rewarded for his current work experience and IT knowledge.

“CBE works with my work schedule, and with having a family at home it’s really hard for me to attend class at a physical location, so CBE was perfect,” said Malik.

In addition to learning online, the ability to earn as many credits as he wants per semester has been extremely helpful for Malik. “Life can throw curve balls. Last year, I could fly through a lot of credits, but this semester is a little heavier with life, so I am taking it a bit slower. The flexibility of CBE allows for this.”

Malik also appreciates how practical the lessons he’s learning are. “The stuff that I am learning with CBE is stuff I am doing directly at work,” he says, “but taking the classes has allowed for me to dive deeper into the subject and learn even the smallest bit of information that I may have not gained elsewhere.”

Malik knew returning to college as a nontraditional student wouldn’t be easy, but for him, personally, he knew this time around was the best fit. He says going to school as an adult has its advantages. “You have the ability and desire to concentrate, read, write, etc. You have the ability to motivate yourself. I wasn’t able to do that in my younger ages. I wanted to live life back then and not stay in class.”

Now, Malik is earning more credits each semester than he’d be able to with traditional college classes. He’s getting closer and closer to that end goal of graduation. Malik advises other adults in similar situations to consider going back to school, especially if you want to move up. “You will be stuck without the degree. It will be hard to move. It depends on how far you want to go in your career, but if you want to continue up, you need a degree.”.

Malik has found success with the competency-based education program, and you can, too. To learn more, visit or reach out to me, Christa Donato, CBE Coach, at 215.670.9492 or today.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#GivingTuesday at Peirce College

Today, Tuesday, November 28, 2017 is not your average Tuesday. Today is #GivingTuesday where families, organizations and communities come together to support the causes they believe in.

At Peirce College, we focus our efforts every day on equipping our students with the credentials, supports and tools they need to become workforce-ready within and well beyond the classroom walls. On #GivingTuesday, you have the opportunity to invest in our Annual Fund, which will directly support our holistic approach to education and, most importantly, our students.

You would be supporting students like Josh Slocum who is a current Business Administration student at Peirce College chasing his dreams of obtaining a degree, so he can not only move up in his current department, but make his parents proud.

“My main inspiration for returning to school was to get my degree for my parents. I made a promise to them to graduate and remain focused on becoming a great leader someday,” said Josh on coming back to school as a working adult.

Josh, like many of our Peirce students, did not take the traditional college route. Josh is returning to school as a full time employee balancing work, life and school all at the same time. During the day, Josh is a Cloud Desk Agent at Comcast and in the evening he is a hardworking student, but he is able to make it work thanks to Peirce’s flexibility.

“The schedule at Peirce College fits perfectly for my life. I get out of work at 5, take a small commute, attend class at 5:30 and it’s all very convenient. I can do what I love and still pursue my education,” explained Josh on balancing his work and education.

Though it does get hard at times to juggle it all, Josh said he feels a new sense of maturity and focus returning to college as a nontraditional student. He knows now that he needs to keep his priorities in check and make sure he is staying productive at all times, so he is able to reach the goal.

Josh had some advice for other potential students considering going back to school. He said, “It is never too late. Do it for your kids, your family, yourself, whoever, but find your inspiration. If you have an opportunity to work and go to school, do it. It’s the best experience I have ever had. I was given a second chance and you can have one, too!”

Josh Slocum is a dedicated and diligent student chasing his and his parents’ dreams. He, and many others, are the reason we do what we do every day at Peirce College – equipping adult learners with workforce-related skills and the accessibility to achieve their goals.

Please consider investing in students like Josh by clicking here today for #GivingTuesday!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

What Peirce College Is Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, Peirce Community!

As we all prepare to gather with friends and family, Peirce College is taking time to remember the reason for the season by expressing the things in life we are most grateful for. Our dedicated students, successful alumni, inspirational employees, supportive community members and passionate board of trustees are just a few of the people Peirce College will be saying thanks for today.

Additionally, we are extremely grateful for the City of Brotherly Love that has allowed us to build and grow over the past 152 years. Thanks to Philadelphia, we’ve had a great place full of diversity, culture and growth to call home since our founding.

To add to the spirit of the holiday, some of our staff and faculty members have shared what they’re thankful for:

“I am thankful for my Lord, family and friends who are always there for me. I am grateful for my education from Peirce College and my Peirce Family who is always supportive. Peirce has been my home for the last 11 years which I am forever grateful for. Lastly, I am thankful for my meatball (nephew) and being blessed to be your Auntie!” – Mary Grassia, Enrollment & Graduation Coodinator

“I am thankful for resilience and optimism! Whatever comes our way, we can tackle it with a sense of humor and trust in our own tenacity.” – Leslie Ballway, Career Development Counselor

“I am thankful for my health and my grandson. I am also thankful for my co-workers that keep me young.” – Steve Bird, Program Manager, Institutional Partnerships

“On Thanksgiving I am thankful that my family has started a tradition of wearing your favorite sweatpants to Thanksgiving dinner instead of dressing up.” – Ashley deCordre, Financial and Veterans Specialist

“I am thankful for the Peirce College faculty and staff and everything they continuously do for our students. I am also thankful for the opportunity to travel as much as I do.” – Brad Hodge, Vice President, Student Services & Retention Management

“I am thankful for a warm and cozy library!” – Kristin Inciardi, Supervisor, Library Services

“I am thankful for being healthy and having the ability to see my family during the holidays.” – Blake Scull, Enrollment Specialist

“I am thankful for this quote by W.T. Purkiser that consistently inspires me, ‘Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.’ Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!” – Christa Donato, Competency-Based Education Coach, Information Technology

On behalf of the entire College, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Mother of Three Chasing Her Dreams

Educational and career goals change throughout many students’ lives. But for Joye Lavender, a current Peirce College Healthcare Administration student, the plan was always to work in the medical field.

Joye graduated from high school in 2006. She didn’t immediately head to college because, as it does, life happened. “I would have started college right after high school, but I had my first child that summer, so I had to put things on hold for a bit,” explains Joye.

After some time, Joye was ready to continue her education, so she enrolled at The Community College of Philadelphia in 2008 as a Biology major.

Despite the tough schedule of a full-time mother and employee, Joye was able to dedicate herself and earn her associate degree. She graduated from CCP in 2012 and decided to head out into the workforce to focus on her career.

Her job as Unit Clerk at Temple Hospital was rewarding and fulfilling, but after a few years it was clear to Joye that she needed to earn her bachelor’s degree to advance in her department. That’s when she discovered Peirce College.

After enrolling at Peirce in 2016, the small class setting and interactive format immediately put Joye at ease and reminded her of her positive experience at The Community College of Philadelphia. She still works more than 40 hours a week, but she knows her flexible class schedule at Peirce will allow her to continue attending class, work full time and stay attentive to her three children.

“It can be tough, and the schedule can get a little crazy,” Joye says about juggling her many responsibilities. “But this isn’t just for me, it’s for my family. I know that I’ll get my promotion right when I graduate with my bachelor’s degree, so there’s just no other option. I’m 100% set on my goals.”

Joye is certainly looking forward to graduating and earning her promotion, but she’s also enjoying her current coursework. She’s confident Healthcare Administration is the perfect field for her. “I love that I’m always learning different facts about non-clinical patient care. People don’t realize that medical administrators do a lot of problem solving for patients, too!”

On track to graduate in May 2018, Joye says that earning her bachelor’s degree won’t be the end of her educational journey. “I can’t wait to start a master’s program,” she says. “My final goal is to be a director of a clinic or hospital someday.”

Along with her studies, her job, and taking care of her three children, Joye likes the theatre (especially The Lion King), reading and socializing with friends. Peirce College thanks The Community College of Philadelphia for providing Joye with such a strong educational foundation. We wish Joye the best in all of her future endeavors!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Partnerships, today at 215.670.9203 or

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

‘Tis the Season for Food, Family and…Finding a New Job?

While the holidays have traditionally been viewed as a slow time for new job postings, November and December are now considered a prime opportunity for job seekers who want to stand out from the crowd. Why put your resume at the bottom of a mile-high pile in January when yours can be on top of the stack in early December?

Rather than wait to make your job search a New Year’s resolution (along with everyone else), try these three tips to jumpstart your next career:

1. Stand out from the crowd.
Many people are tempted to take a break from job searching between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If you can fight this feeling, you will have a much greater chance of catching the attention of a hiring manager. It’s sometimes difficult to forego family time to apply for jobs, but doing so means that your applications will be in much smaller candidate pools during the holiday season. However, you shouldn’t take this as permission to cut corners! Quality still matters. Ensure that your resume and cover letter are error-free, keyword-rich and make the case for your interest in and fit for your target role at your target company.

2. Activate your network. Holiday gatherings are not just for eggnog and turkey; they’re also a great way to reactivate connections with people in your extended networks. Don’t be shy about mentioning your job search: that cousin you see once a year might have the inside scoop on a job that would be the perfect fit for you. And if you think holiday cards are irrelevant in the digital age, think again! A simple handwritten greeting has the power to create warm connections with people. Sending best wishes for the holidays can open the door for you to touch base about your job search later in January.

3. Know yourself. If you’re not hearing back from hiring managers right away, take the opportunity to reexamine your short and long-term goals. If you were going to an interview in an hour, could you talk about your career plans? Do you know where you’d like to be 10 years from now? Knowing these answers is important – not only so you won’t be rattled by tough interview questions, but also so you understand how your next job fits into your overall life story. Take time to be sure your job search focuses on positions you find meaningful.
Following these tips can be the step ahead you need to get the career you’re searching for. To get even more help with chasing your dream career, connect with Career Development Services (CDS). We work with students and alumni to refresh the job search, starting with the tools to manage an effective job search. CDS will help you revamp your resume, draft a targeted cover letter, practice your interviewing skills, get a new interviewing outfit, negotiate a great starting salary and build your reputation as a professional.

Contact us at 215.670.9202 or for more information or to set up an appointment today!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Peirce College's 2017 Veterans Day Brunch

Today, November 11, 2017 we celebrate Veterans Day. This is a day when we thank, honor and appreciate all those who have served and protected our country throughout its history.

Peirce College was founded on the opportunity to provide education to veterans who were returning from the Civil War and looking to gain work-related skills. Over 152 years later, we are still dedicated to serving those who have served our country.

With the help of Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), Peirce is honored to have over 70 veterans currently in our student community seeking out degrees to help them pursue new careers. When veterans complete a program through VUB, they are invited to earn a degree at Peirce with the opportunity for a one-time $1,500.00 scholarship.

Yesterday, we celebrated veterans by inviting current VUB members to campus for a Veterans Day Brunch. Multiple VUB members and a veteran from our own Peirce staff and faculty joined us to enjoy a light breakfast and have the opportunity to meet some key Peirce community members.

Jim Mergiotti, President & CEO of Peirce College, welcomed the group and emphasized Peirce’s appreciation for everything the veterans have done and everything VUB continues to do.

Next, Director of Admissions, Shawn Gauthney, and Enrollment Specialist, Karen Hun, introduced the agreement between Peirce College and VUB. They explained how anyone there could earn the degree they dreamed of with the help of Peirce.

“Peirce is a military-friendly college with open doors to all students with or without previous college credits. We are eager to get all of you started as you continue on with your educational journey,” said Karen Hun to the group of veterans.

After we heard from some Peirce team members, the microphone turned to the audience. We heard from different veterans about their stories, family history and what brought them to this breakfast.

The brunch may have concluded, but we have not stopped our appreciation for all those who have done so much for our country, our College and our freedom. Yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day we are so grateful for the sacrifices made, which have allowed for us to keep working toward our mission of educating working adult learners.

Thank a veteran today!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hospitality to Higher Education – Meet Liz Pecora

When you first consider Peirce College for the next step in your educational journey, you’re paired with your own personal Enrollment Specialist. At Peirce, we have a full Admissions team of dedicated, knowledgeable and eager individuals who are excited to get you started.

Recently, our team grew when we gained our newest Enrollment Specialist, Elizabeth (Liz) Pecora. You may get the chance to be paired with Liz when you’re exploring Peirce College where she’ll be able to share helpful tips with you, such as:
  1. Potential students looking to attain a college degree need to remember it doesn’t take nearly as long as you may think, and it’s something that will be yours forever.
  2. There is no time like the present. Life will never stop throwing you obstacles, so don’t use that as your excuse for not returning. You will find a way to fit school in.
  3. You will be surrounded by people and professors that want you to be successful and accomplish everything you have set out to achieve.
Liz gained the knowledge to share these tips and many more through her education and career experiences. She has a full background of sales, marketing and higher education with a special twist of hospitality.

Liz joined Peirce with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management earned from Penn State University in 2007. While attending Penn State, she took the opportunity of a lifetime and studied abroad in Montreux, Switzerland for a summer to attend Hotel Institute of Montreux. After completing her undergrad, Liz moved on to graduate school at South University for her MBA with a concentration in Hospitality Management.

After graduating, Liz headed into the workforce to begin her career. After holding a variety of sales, marketing, recruiter and managerial positions, she found her home in higher education in 2009.

Liz started her higher education work at the Art Institute in Washington D.C. before moving to the Art Institute’s City of Brotherly Love campus.

After over eight years of higher education experience, she found her way to Peirce. “I’ve always wanted to work for a non-profit college. Peirce College intrigued me with the fact that we really cater to adult students and have created an environment for them to be successful,” says Liz on her decision to apply to Peirce.

Liz’s education gave her the foundation she needed to build the career she wanted. You can gain your own foundation for a rewarding career by earning your degree at Peirce! With six sessions a year, you can start almost immediately. Contact Liz or any Peirce Enrollment Specialist today at 215.670.9000 or to get started.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Beating the Odds One Degree at a Time

“I wanted to prove to those family members who did not believe in me that I could become somebody. I wanted to prove to society that I was not just another teenage parent statistic. Most of all I wanted to show my children that although we face challenges in our lives and may get knocked down at times, we can still press on and use those challenges as fuel to succeed.” – Sondra Allen

A working mom, a dedicated student and an inspiration to the community: Sondra Allen first became a Peirce College student in 1984.

Upon graduating high school, Sondra knew being a young mom would add some challenges as she made the decision to further her education. She already had overcome most peoples’ expectations after having her first child in 10th grade and still choosing to pursue her high school diploma. Sondra knew attending college would certainly defy some odds and cause some controversy. But, that didn’t stop Sondra; it inspired her.

After working with her high school counselor and doing some personal reflection, Sondra found Peirce to be the college she needed to succeed. For Sondra, it was the “perfect fit” for where she was in her life. “[Peirce] would be a perfect fit for me and my situation. It had a great reputation, it was local and not too far from where I was working,” explains Sondra of why she decided to join the Peirce community.

In 1986, Sondra conquered her first goal and graduated with an Associate in Science for Administrative Office Assistance. This accomplishment was what she needed to continue moving forward with her career and life. But, in the back of Sondra’s mind, she knew she had always wanted that four-year degree, and she wasn’t fully done yet.

But as it happens to most, after completing her first degree, life got in the way. “I, like many other adult learners, had life situations impede me from pursuing a four-year college or for some, continuing an education right out of high school,” says Sondra. “Years get behind us, and before we know it, life experiences have placed us in situations where we come to realize, a change is needed. We feel stuck.”

She knew it was time to return to school, despite how long she’d been away from it. She was ready for more.

So after twenty-eight years, Sondra returned to Peirce!

In 2014, Sondra started classes again, and before she knew it was graduating with that bachelor’s degree she had always dreamed of. But, once again, Sondra had the desire to do more.

This time – there was no waiting. In 2016, the same year she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management, Sondra enrolled in Peirce’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management (MSOLM) program.

“I chose the [MSOLM] program because it was in my field of work, and it would give me the opportunity to further my career,” says Sondra. “The course work in the Graduate Studies Program is directly connected to my professional life, as I believed it would give me a better understanding of the ‘behind the scenes’ of management that I was not familiar with. Learning about the different types of management styles, strategic planning, human resources, finances/budgeting and research methods, to name a few, allows me the exposure of the detailed work it takes to manage an office.”

As Sondra continues beating the odds as a former teen mom chasing her master’s degree, she still finds time to connect with students on how they, too, can accomplish their goals no matter who they are or where they come from. Sondra is currently in the Vice President position of the Graduate Student Association where she also has served as a Student Senator in 2016. This has allowed her the opportunity to share her story while also gaining leadership experience.

As of June 2018, Sondra will walk across the commencement stage for the third time. She’ll be surrounded by the Peirce community who has watched her grow over the past 34 years chasing the dream she has had since she was a little girl. We are all so proud of Sondra and cannot wait to watch her continue to grow in her career and motivate others with her enthusiasm, dedication and inspirational story.

If you or someone you know is interested in returning to school, like Sondra did, contact an Enrollment Specialist today at 215.670.9000 or