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My Story

Jeff's Story

Business was slowing down, and I thought to myself, will I get laid off, or will I be working here forever? So I said to myself I'd better do something.

Read more of Jeff's story


Theresa's Story

I always wanted to go back to school and earn a degree, but raising four children and working full-time kept me too busy to allow me the time to do it.

Read more of Theresa's story


Elizabeth's Story

I have always wanted to go to college; I just did not have the opportunity to do so in Malaysia or in Singapore.

Read more of Elizabeth's story


Jeff's Story

It was summertime; I was feeling depressed about the job I was working at. Business was slowing down, and I thought to myself, will I get laid off, or will I be working here forever? So I said to myself I'd better do something.

So I went back to school. First I took some GED classes so that I could get my diploma. After about six months, I took two of the five tests and passed. I was "so happy." I studied for four more months, and passed the other three. I said to myself "this is great." I've finally done it. After all these years I got my diploma.

After seeing what I had accomplished, I didn't want to stop, so I kept working hard on my studies. I knew that I could do this, go to college. It is going to be hard, but if I stick with it I can do it. So now I decided to take the college exam test. The scores weren't that bad, but I knew that I needed to work harder to get more education.

At this point I decided to go back to school to brush up on my studies. It was then I went to see my GED teacher. She directed me to the College Prep program at North Hennepin Community College .

I was going there for two weeks, when I realized that, not only is this good for me, but it is fun too. I'm taking a writing course and math.

While I'm in the College Prep program I will also be thinking about what I want to study when I start college classes. When I took a tour of North Hennepin Community College and North Hennepin Technical College I picked up some information and took it home with me. Every night I read a little about college programs. I was still confused and I still didn't have a plan, but I knew I wanted to do something.

So my next step is to get some help with planning for college. Who can I talk to? I decided that I'll talk to the College Prep teachers or one of the counselors. Maybe they could help me with my dilemma. Also I need to find what my options are, how will I get the money to pay for school? How long will it take to finish school? These are all things I need to know.

Now that I know what I need to do, it's time to get back to improving my math and writing skills. First things first! I must pass the college exam test, enroll for grants or loans, and decide what courses I'd like to take. It may take a little time, but with persistence I think it will all pay off in the end, and I'll become a better person.

In conclusion, I will be so happy when I complete my learning plan in the College Prep program. Then I can proceed with college and move on to bigger and better things.

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Theresa's Story

I am a graduate from Park Center Senior High, class of 1979. I always wanted to go back to school and earn a degree, but raising four children and working full-time kept me too busy to allow me the time to do it. After years of thinking about going back, I decided last year, in fact -- almost to this day -- that I wanted to earn a college degree. Although I knew many working adults were pursuing degrees, I was afraid of not being successful after having been away from school for so long. Since my youngest is 11, I decided now is the time.

I researched a couple of colleges and universities, and on the recommendation of a coworker, I enrolled at University of Phoenix. There I completed three online courses, but found that its learning environment was not well-suited for me. I became dissatisfied and frustrated because I did not feel I was gaining as much as I wanted to, nor learning as much as I believed I should learn. I dropped out of their program, but still wanted to pursue a degree; so last fall, I decided to give North Hennepin Community College a visit. I met with a counselor, and learned about the degree programs. I found the Business ASAP Program, which is exactly what I was looking for. I sent my application in and was accepted to the program.

In order to proceed, I was required to take a placement test. I did well on the reading comprehension and sentence skills. However, I did poorly on the algebra. I went ahead and registered for my first class in the Business ASAP Program to try out the campus and see if this was really the learning environment I wanted. I found that my classmates were highly motivated, working adults, and I truly enjoyed the diversity of the students' and their work experiences. I was so happy that I had decided to make this move and could hardly wait to attend more classes.

While working through my first class at NHCC, I knew that part of the curriculum included completing some mathematics and algebra courses. In order to get into algebra, I had to do well on the mathematics portion of the placement test. I knew the score of "37" I received would not allow me to take algebra without first taking three prerequisite courses. I thought to myself ," I am enrolled in an accelerated learning program to get my degree ASAP, so I do not want to spend 24 or 48 weeks learning math and algebra."

As a new student, I assumed that NHCC must offer a student some sort of assistance to help him or her learn, so I started searching the website. It did not take me long to find the College Prep information, "Our Free College Prep Program". I called the next day and spoke to the teacher, Terry, and I told her that I was a new student and I wanted to learn math and algebra because I forgot everything that I learned back in school. She told me to come in and we could discuss it and figure out a plan. I went to the center and met with Mary. [Terry and Mary} both agreed that the expectations I had about what I could accomplish with the College Prep Program were reasonable and possible, so I signed up and started a program that was tailored to my needs.

I have been going to the College Prep Center on Thursday afternoons to work on my program, and have allocated time to work independently at home as well. I have even worked on the computers in the Learning Resource Center after hours when I could. Mary and Terry are fantastic. They have provided me with encouragement and praise, and have helped me when I was unable to figure problems out on my own.

I just re-tested on the mathematics portion of the placement test and I have doubled my score! That was one of the goals I had set from the first day that I walked into the College Prep Center . Once I finish the program that was set up for me, I can re-test once more and hopefully earn only four more points so that I can take the required College Algebra Course.

I highly recommend the College Prep Program that NHCC offers. By my participation in the program, I should be able to eliminate spending additional tuition on taking three courses that would not count as credit toward earning my degree. It has not only allowed me to improve my skills in math and algebra while taking other credit courses, but it has saved me time that I would have otherwise spent taking other math courses. Additionally, I have learned much about myself as a life-long learner. With my desire to learn and dedication I can do just about anything.

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Elizabeth's Story

I have always wanted to go to college; I just did not have the opportunity to do so in Malaysia or in Singapore. I was working as a financial officer in Singapore before coming to the United States . After getting married, I worked briefly for a year. After my eldest son was born, I decided to stay home to raise him. Thereafter, I had two more children and became a stay-at-home mom for the next ten years.

If it were not for my friend, Birgit Fink, I would not be in college today. It was Birgit who inspired me to go back to school. "It will be the most enjoyable time of your life," she told me. She has three children too, and is doing a 2-year full time A.A. degree in North Hennepin Community College . "If she can do it, I can do it, too," I told myself.

Now that my three children are in school full time, I can go back to school during the day when they are in school. I decided to study Dietetic Technology. With that goal in mind, I enrolled myself in North Hennepin Community College for my first year of general education before heading to Normandale College for the second year. However, I can only manage to do my courses on a part time basis since I am still required to handle the running of the household.

The idea of competing with the high school students, who were already well versed with writing and reading skills, did not help with my confidence. I felt like a "rusty-old-goat" versus a "spring chicken." I harbored this fear in me when I saw the College Prep Center teacher. I was unsure of myself. Do I have the ability to do this course; do I have time to make the commitment of doing the course at home on a daily basis? I went to the College Prep Center , not once, but a few times, always indecisive when I walked out of the college. Finally, I plucked up enough courage to register for the placement test.

Before being accepted into the college-level courses, I had to be tested to gauge my level of language proficiency. I got myself tested but did not pass the test. Not only did I fail it, I failed it twice. I was disappointed. However, I was determined to work on it at the College Prep Center . I signed up for the Reading Strategies course at the College Prep Center . This course teaches critical thinking skills that greatly enhance my skill in reading comprehension at college-level. Before I got myself tested again – to get an exemption from taking a pre-college (developmental) reading class -- I decided to do the Effective Reading course too, to improve my skills further. I was determined to pass it the third time around. No more failing.

I adhered to a schedule of finishing one module of the course on a weekly basis. With that strict schedule, I finished the two Reading courses in a shorter time period than I anticipated. I was ready to do the placement test again. I passed it this time. I was relieved. Not only did the two reading courses help me to gear up for the college level classes, they also taught me how to put critical thinking skills to good use when reading college textbooks in the near future.

Now that I have gotten an exemption from Reading, I am ready to sign up for the Math program at the College Prep Center to prepare myself for a placement test on Math. I found out that if I go through the whole program of pre-college learning at the College Prep Center before doing the placement test, I am more equipped with the skills needed, and with those skills in hand, it helps to allay my fear of the placement test. Not only does the College Prep Center help students to prepare themselves by learning or re-learning in my case, the reading, writing or math skills at pre-college level before signing up for college classes, it also saves us money on not paying for the pre-college classes.

I still cannot believe how I did it, but I did with sheer will power of determination and hard work.
My efforts have paid off.

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