I’m the first in my family to graduate from college, and deciding to attend CLC was the best decision I made in my life. Because I was a first-generation college student, no one else in my family had the prior experience in applying to, and preparing for, college. During high school, I participated in Educational Talent Search, a pre-college program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and CLC. Through the program, I met its director, Dr. Sharon Sanders-Funnye. I saw her on weekly basis, at job-shadowing tours, college tours and seminars on transitioning to college.
Dr. Funnye pointed out that CLC is a great place to start because you get a quality education for a very reasonable price, and you can save money by living at home. I had applied and was accepted at a four-year state university. But I later found out that the first year would cost me $20,000. So, I changed my mind and decided to start college at CLC, and it was every bit as good as Dr. Funnye said it would be. I appreciated how she helped me take a proactive approach to my education. She also gave helpful advice on filling out applications for scholarships and for Northern Illinois University, where I later transferred to earn a bachelor’s degree. Dr. Funnye is still my mentor today and a great friend.
I really appreciated a personal development course on becoming a successful college student. I took the class when I started at CLC, and it was very helpful to learn the different ways to study and how to study efficiently. It gave me a great foundation for the rest of the courses at CLC and at Northern Illinois University
Jeff Varblow, an accounting professor, did a great job of explaining concepts. Accounting can be a tough subject, so I and other students followed his advice and formed study groups, which helped us pass the course. I also liked how Jeff and the other business instructors shared their real-world experiences in the classroom.
Overall, I appreciated CLC’s smaller class sizes, and all of my instructors had office hours and were willing to help me outside of class. Plus, the math tutors helped me learn calculus, which was a challenging subject. And my academic advisor really helped put me on four-year track to graduate on time from CLC and transfer to NIU.
Besides taking classes, I was a student worker in the Educational Talent Search office. I worked under the direction of Dr. Funnye, and we helped high-school students at Zion-Benton, Round Lake, North Chicago and Waukegan make decisions about college and careers. At seminars, I’d get in front of the group and answer students’ questions about navigating college and making the transition from high school. I also helped lead group tours at corporations such as AT& T and Boeing, where we met a cross section of people in different careers. Guiding other students helped me grow as a person, from developing public speaking skills to deciding on a career in sales.
At CLC, I made new friends through groups including Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for community college students who have a 3.5 GPA or higher and have accumulated a minimum of 12 credit hours. Through CLC, I received a scholarship to help finance my education.
CLC has a nice culture, and I still keep in touch with friends that I met through the TRiO organization, which helps students set academic goals, prepare for a career and visit four-year colleges.
I enjoyed working out in the Fitness Center on the Grayslake Campus. It’s convenient, and the admission is free. It felt great to exercise with the weights and bond with friends. I also enjoyed the great food at Prairie Restaurant, which is run by hospitality and culinary management students.
My advice for a new CLC student is to make use of the many resources at the college. From the instructors to the advisors to the tutors, the college has a lot of good people who want to help you. Anyone with a passion and drive can succeed at CLC.