Major: Teacher Preparation
Hira Qureshi loves children and wanted a career that involved working with them.
“Elementary education was what I felt I would be really good at. It’s something I can see myself doing and loving,” she said. “I love that you can be so creative with the work that you do and you’ll spend your time every day shaping the future generation and helping them grow.”
Through a College of DuPage dual credit program with her high school, Qureshi began taking courses during her junior year and finished 12 COD credits by the end of her senior year. She decided to continue at COD because of cost and location.
“I’m the youngest in my family, so my parents had already sent two other siblings through college and COD is definitely a cost-effective option,” she said. “I knew if I got my associate degree at COD, it would be an inexpensive way to get the same general education classes done as a four-year university without the massive price tag. The main campus location was close to my home, which made transportation and commuting much easier.”
She was also named a Board of Trustees scholar, which included a $2,500 annual scholarship, which paid for a majority of her tuition. Qureshi said it kept her motivated to try her best and succeed.
Being a Board of Trustees scholar also meant an invitation to join the Honors program, which proved to be a significant opportunity for Qureshi.
“The Honors program was challenging and a faster pace than my regular courses, but it really prepared me well for what the rest of my college career would be like,” she said. “The professors were so motivating and caring and I’ve built wonderful connections with many of them. Not only was having a smaller class size beneficial for learning but also getting connected with each other was much easier. The transfer process was smoother with the help of these professors and faculty. I was able to get letters of recommendation from them because they got to know me at a different level than my other professors.”
Qureshi earned an Associate in Arts degree and graduated with high honors. She is now at Elmhurst University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
“My ultimate career goals are to be a great and motivational teacher,” she said. “I want to motivate students to try their hardest to succeed in school. I want to inspire young students to accomplish their own goals and recognize their own potential. If I can help just one student, I think my goal will be met as a teacher.
“The best thing about teaching at an elementary grade level is that you have the opportunity to mentor young minds. They are so impressionable at a young age and I want to be able to leave a lasting impact.”
Her advice to COD students is to take advantage of all the opportunities offered on campus and to get involved. This will set their applications apart from others when they decide to transfer.
“Just because it’s a community college doesn’t mean that it’s time to slack off. College of DuPage is a great stepping stone for bigger and better things,” Qureshi said. “I got to see what college was like with a little less pressure since it wasn’t a four-year university. COD helped me meet my goals in education by starting me on the right track. They got me in contact with the transfer schools I was thinking about so I could take the right courses in order to transfer, and I felt definitely prepared to transfer to Elmhurst University. My personal goals were to put myself out there, get involved with the school and make new friends. I feel like I got every opportunity to do that at COD and met a lot of amazing people.”