The undergraduate business program, the fast-tracked MBA (the 4+1 program), after graduation job success, and the alumni support all inspired adult transfer student Courtney Fraley to choose the Mount.

courtney fraley

What is your year and major? What is your anticipated graduation year?

Business Marketing. I graduated last December 2022 with my bachelors and I will graduate this December 2023 with my MBA.

What inspired you to pursue a program at the Mount?

I first learned about the Mount when I started doing light research to figure out which school I wanted to attend after I finished my associate degree at Chatfield College. That research made me interested in MSJ, however, I wasn’t truly inspired to attend until I went to the college fair at Chatfield and spoke with the MSJ representatives. I learned about MSJ’s School of Business and the 4+1 program which heavily influenced my decision to apply. On top of the great business program, the Mount is also known for its high success rate in terms of graduates obtaining jobs in their fields. The business program they offer, the fast-tracked MBA (the 4+1 program), the after graduation job success, and the alumni support they offer are what inspired me the most to choose MSJ.

How did the Mount support you during your adult transfer journey, to make your program goals achievable?

The faculty and professors at the mount have been there for me throughout my entire journey, not just during the transfer process. My advisors were always available to answer any questions or concerns I had and helped me figure out which courses to take and when I should take them. They always took my schedule into account and the fact that I was a commuter when deciding which courses I should take which made it extremely easy on me during each semester. There were instances where the Mount gave me gas cards since I am a commuter and live 45 mins to an hour away from the school. My advisors and professors also made sure to schedule any meetings or anything on the days I had classes so I wouldn’t have to make special trips up to the school. The financial aid department helped tremendously since my loan and scholarship offers weren’t enough to cover the total amount each semester. I had to cover the entire cost of my books and school supplies on top of also owing nearly $3,000 each semester. The financial aid department worked with me and would allow me to pay partial amounts in order to register for the next semester since there was often a short period between them. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my bachelors if it weren’t for their help and support.

How do you manage your course load with a job/and or your personal life?

Managing the course load has been tricky throughout my time at the Mount. While obtaining my bachelors I often had 5 or 6 classes each semester which is a lot to keep track of while also working and keeping up with my personal life. To keep everything straight I relied on my strong organizational skills and communicated often with my professors. I also used each courses syllabus to keep track of all assignments which I would write down on the white board at my desk. Handling a full-time course load and personal life is all about time management. I found it helpful to have the workload for each week written out in front of me with due dates and then setting aside a certain number of hours each day to focus on school assignments. Breaking the course load up like this helped me ensure assignments were done on time while still having time to keep up with work, housework, and my relationship. If there were instances that prevented me from staying on track or getting an assignment in on time, I would communicate with my professor right away to explain the situation.  

Are there any staff or professors you would like to credit who helped accommodate your transfer or Mount experience?

Mary Mazuk, my first advisor, was always there to answer questions and help me with my schedule. She is the one who helped me schedule courses and figure out a plan that let me graduate faster and cheaper.

Cynthia Veraldo, my second advisor, was just as accommodating in terms of planning my course schedule and picking courses that worked around my schedule.

Matthew Listermann helped me every semester when I was working towards my bachelors. I had a hard time each semester paying the balance left over after scholarships and grants came out. If they weren’t paid in full, then a hold would be placed on the account which prevented you from signing up for the next semester. Knowing my situation, Matthew would allow me to pay certain amounts while also letting me sign up for the next semester. His accommodation allowed me to finish my bachelor’s degree without any interruptions.

Many of my professors were incredible in terms of understanding my situation and accommodating me when necessary. The two that stick out the most are Dr. Elizabeth Bland and Dr. Lisa Gick. These two professors have made my experience significantly better. Not only did they help and support me when I needed it, but they have also challenged me with their class assignments and have pushed me past what I thought was possible. Honestly, these two have shown me that there is no limits to what I can do as long as I work hard and trust myself. Incredible professors!

There are many more professors and faculty who were tremendously helpful when I first transferred to the Mount and throughout my time here.  

What [or who] is your biggest motivator during challenging times?

There are actually a few people that I either think about or talk too when I need motivation. Sometimes I motivate myself by thinking about all I have accomplished and everything I’ve been through these past few years which reminds me that every challenge or obstacle can be overcome.

One of my biggest motivators is my oldest sister, Jessica. Anytime I am having a hard time with an assignment or just feel overwhelmed in general, I can just call her and talk it out. She always listens when I need to vent and is quick to offer sound advice when I clearly need assistance. Plus, if it is something extremely difficult or really bad, she will come over in a heartbeat.

My professors, Dr. Elizabeth Bland and Dr. Lisa Gick, are also strong motivators during challenging times. Dr. Bland is close to my age, so, the fact that she has her doctorate is inspiration itself and reminds me that I can overcome anything. Those two have also been great listeners when I am having a hard time with an assignment (even if it isn’t for their class). I have spoken with them on many occasions just to talk through the chaos that is sometimes my thoughts. Sometimes the challenge is my overthinking, so, I talk with them and they help me align my thoughts and get my plan for a project straight.

Another thing that motivates me during something particularly challenging is visualizing the finish line. I sometime think about what the end result looks like and that helps focus me and make the next move clearer.

What advice would you have for other adult students looking to transfer to a 4-year college?

My biggest piece of advice would be to not let your age scare you when starting your first semester. I was so nervous because I knew I would be older than most of the students attending and it made me think I would be so out of place. This isn’t the case, in fact, being older helped me quit a bit because I have more experience or knew a lot about the topics being taught.

Another important thing to remember is that, as an adult, you have a wide array of experiences that give you a little edge during much of the assignments and discussions. Most adults have a larger work experience to pull from or have experienced more in the world and this experience is great, use it!

As an adult, most likely you work either full-time or part-time. When juggling work, school, family, and your normal household routine, the best thing to remember is time management. Organizing your week and setting aside time for each thing is essential for staying on top of assignments and your house. I make sure to organize the week to set aside this much time to reading, assignments, chores, downtime, etc. If you don’t, it is super easy to get behind or get burned out.

Time management and organization – your two best friends.

Try to remember to have fun. I know it can be hard to attend events on campus because us adults normally have a family and home to take care of, but some of these events can help destress and others can be extremely helpful (such as the workshops or career fairs).  

Lastly, remember to take a breath and set time aside for yourself. Always make downtime for yourself to decompress. If you focus to much on school and don’t make time for yourself then you will be ready to pull your hair out by the end of the semester. Plus, if you walk away from assignments or projects when they are starting to frustrate you or begin to seem impossible, it gives you time to calm down and when you go back to it you will have fresh eyes and a clear mind.

Extra piece of advice – whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. This is a very bad habit that won’t go so well for many projects or assignments. Many require a lot of work and effort that is drawn out over a couple of weeks or even the entire semester. Waiting until the last minute will significantly hurt your work. Plus, some of those projects cannot be crammed in overnight or over a couple nights. Many of them will take the entire time so it is good to keep up on it.