Student Spotlight: Jose Tapia
Jose Tapia thought about going to college but didn’t think he could afford it.
While in high school, after a close friend decided to join the Marine Corps, he decided to do the same. In fact, of the five people in their friend group, four enlisted.
“I personally wanted to do something bigger than me, serve my country, and be able to prepare myself for a good future in the process,” he said. “The military provided me with many tools, it was just a matter of what I wanted to do with them. I am very grateful to God for the many opportunities that have come my way, especially allowing me to serve five years, do a tour in Iraq and come back home to my family.”
During his first year in the Marine Corps, Tapia went to school and worked in the calibration of electronics during his years of active duty. He was able to start a career in the same field after finishing his service. However, after 10 years, he realized that in order to advance, he would need a formal education and decided to pursue a management degree.
With the encouragement of his wife, Tapia started to investigate options and looked at College of DuPage based upon the suggestion of his wife’s friend.
“The friend told us about the 3+1 program with Benedictine University, the Veterans Services department and the other amazing services at COD,” he said. “Once I started to talk to different staff members, it reassured my decision to come here.
“The Veterans Services office in particular has provided so much guidance in terms of my military benefits and how to use them. They have been very patient and helpful along the way and answered any questions I’ve had. They also introduced me to new programs and classes that cater to veterans, which was unheard of to me before COD. I participated in the veterans’ graduation ceremony this past May and, although I was not able to get time off of work for this class, they created a speech class in the Rockies just for veterans. These are all amazing experiences for any veteran.”
Tapia earned his Associate in Applied Science degree in Management and started the 3+1 program with Benedictine to earn a bachelor’s degree. He’s also pursuing a second associate’s degree at COD in Marketing.
He knows College of DuPage was the right choice for him and encourages others to check out the school.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and affordable,” he said. “If you’re a veteran, you will receive a terrific amount of help and attention in order to complete your goals. Even if you are not, my wife is also pursuing a 3+1 program at COD and she often talks about how amazing some of the professors are and the environment that is catered for anyone to succeed.
“I am extremely thankful to the many positive influences at COD, from the many professors who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting to the incredible staff in every department I’ve come in contact with.”
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