“I was nervous. I wondered ‘Can I do this?’ How will I juggle everything in my life?” said Jennifer Carroll about her decision to come back to school to earn her associate degree. She started college right after high school but began to focus on work and kept thinking she’d come back, but didn’t. Jennifer’s motivation to finally take this step, after many years, stemmed from having a son on the autism spectrum along with a desire to go into education. She knew she could use her personal experience to make a difference for other children.

“When I took one of my first classes—Introduction to Paraprofessional—the professor was so supportive. She was very welcoming to adult students and it was an enjoyable experience.” Jennifer was confident she made the right decision to come to Moraine Valley. “It was close by and affordable. For me, it was the safest, best bet.”

As an adult student with two adolescent sons, Jennifer appreciated the flexibility the college offers. She took evening and daytime classes, as well as online classes and even a course at our Southwest Education Center in Tinley Park.

“Moraine Valley has unlimited resources available for you,” she says. “Your instructors are extremely helpful. I’ve gone to the tutoring center for assistance with a paper. All you have to do is ask for help and it’s there.”

Jennifer began her Moraine Valley journey in fall 2015, and by the following summer, had earned enough college credits to obtain her paraprofessional license. She is now working as a paraprofessional (teacher’s aide) in a local elementary school and will keep working full-time while earning her Paraprofessional Educator A.A.S. degree. She eventually plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in special education.

“The academic rigor at Moraine Valley is on par with four-year schools. You’re getting a quality education at a value price,” she says.