When Grace Biernacki was in high school, she fell in love with personal finance.
“I began working at 16 and loved budgeting the money I made,” she said. “I also enjoyed learning about the economy.”
She applied her growing financial knowledge to the college selection process. Although she was accepted to many schools, Biernacki was concerned about their high tuition rates. Then she applied to College of DuPage and was named a Presidential Scholar, which included a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD’s Honors program and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.
“I decided to attend COD rather than take out loans for other schools,” she said. “I also had friends who attended COD and they loved it.”
Unsure of what her major should be, Biernacki focused on completing general education courses and enrolling in a variety of classes to explore career options. It was Associate Professor of Marketing Mary Carlson who helped Biernacki determine her future path.
“She is dedicated to helping students learn more about how marketing works and was always available to talk to me and answer my questions,” she said.
Biernacki’s positive experiences as part of the Honors program began during her freshman year and she enjoyed every one of them.
“The professors were my favorite part of the Honors program because they were all dedicated to helping us learn more about the world and then applying that knowledge both inside and outside the classroom in order to become better students and people,” she said. “If someone is considering being part of the Honors program, it’s a great way to meet other students who work very hard. Classes are more difficult but they expand your knowledge and skills for the future.”
Biernacki, who also took dance classes at COD, earned her Associate in Arts degree with a 4.0 GPA and graduated with highest honors. She received the Elmhurst College Transfer Scholarship, a full-tuition award presented to one COD student annually, and will double major in marketing and finance. One of her long-term goals is to run a small business.
As for COD, Biernacki knows it was the right choice academically and fiscally. In fact, she loves talking to high school seniors about the advantages of attending COD.
“College of DuPage is an amazing community college. The classes are as rigorous and detailed as those at a four-year school, and it’s an extremely wise financial choice. The money I saved I can use for other endeavors,” she said. “COD provided me with so many amazing opportunities that I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. I am going to miss COD a lot.”