Berkeley Today

Mom Thrives at College Thanks to a Balance of On-Site and Online Classes

The decision to return to the classroom was bittersweet for single mom Carla McDonald. On the one hand she knew that a college degree would advance her career at USB Financial Services in Florham Park, NJ, and help her to provide a better future for her family. But she also knew that being a full-time employee and a full-time student meant time away from Tyler, 15 and Taylor, 6.

After researching schools, Ms. McDonald found that Berkeley College had a program that was a good match for her. She is enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program in Financial Services, taking some classes on-site at the Newark location and others online while at home with her children.

"I thought my returning to college would create a lot of hardship for my children, but it has turned out to be a very positive experience for all of us," said Ms. McDonald, who is on track to graduate the Winter 2011 Quarter. "My children are excited that I am doing well in my studies, especially Tyler. My success is motivating him to do better in his own studies."

Ms. McDonald has maintained a high grade point average and has consistently been placed on either the Dean’s or President’s Lists. In May 2011 she was inducted into the Financial Management Association (FMA) National Honor Society. The FMA National Honor Society recognizes finance students for outstanding achievement. This sets them apart from other students as they pursue their careers.

Earlier this year, Ms. McDonald was selected by faculty to participate in the Berkeley College Honors Program. Participating Honors Program students enroll in special seminars and discussions about various political, social, and economic issues that affect communities both locally and globally. That experience has Ms. McDonald excited about long-term career goals.

"My passion and future goal is to use my financial background to help young people – particularly young girls – with financial literacy. I want to help them to understand the importance of financial stability and how it affects their overall lifestyle," Ms. McDonald said.