Student Spotlight: Paris Dunlap
One of Paris Dunlap's goals is to graduate from college with a minimum amount of debt. It's what initially led him to College of DuPage.
"It's just my mom and me, and she didn't have the money to send me to a four-year university even with scholarships, loans and grants," he said. "I realized I could save so much money if I attended COD, and I discovered that great opportunities were awaiting me."
One opportunity is his major. Although Dunlap decided to study engineering in high school, he had doubts as to whether he could handle the workload. But he has stuck with his decision and is happy he did so.
"Engineering is constantly on the rise and jobs are always available," he said. "And my engineering professor, David Smith, has so much wisdom and knowledge from the engineering field and passes it to his students."
Another opportunity is receiving the Freshman Foundation Scholarship for new students with single parents.
"The $1,000 has really motivated me to be successful not just in college but in life," he said. "I figured I should at least attempt and apply for the scholarship, which has paid for book fees and two of my classes. It's really a relief to my mother and I because it allowed me to cancel my loans, which made our lives more comfortable."
Dunlap plans to finish his general education classes and transfer in 2014. His ultimate career goal is to become a civil engineer and develop blueprints for buildings in large cities and construct roads and bridges. After that, he would like to learn more about the fashion industry and start a T-shirt line.
As for College of DuPage, he is happy to focus more on his academics rather than on college expenses. And the educational value far exceeds the cost.
"My freshman-year spending at COD compared to another student at a four-year university is significantly different because I still live at home 15 minutes away from campus," he said. "COD is also teaching me about the real world, because the professors have high expectations of its students and set standards of discipline which are very important in prospering in today's society. The professors are just amazing and actually care about me as a student and as an individual.
"In the beginning, I didn't know if COD would be the fit for me, but in the end I am glad I came here. People my age make community colleges seem as if it's the end of the world, because it's not a four-year university. The amount of money that is being saved, the endless friendships that are being developed, and the various types of professors in my opinion outweigh a four-year university any day of the year. It's a blessing to have an elite school like COD 15 minutes away from my house."
2014 College of DuPage