BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Eve Liptak enjoys reading the personal statements of students who apply to University of Bridgeport’s IDEAL Program. As the IDEAL Admissions Counselor, Liptak sees daily what motivates people to continue their education.
"Something that’s common for students starting or returning to school is deciding it’s the right time in their lives," said Liptak, who has been in her position for nearly two years. “When they were students originally, something derailed them. We always say for many of these students, life happens. When they come to me they say it’s a good time to get back to school, and they’re looking for a program that fits their lifestyle. It’s rewarding to find the right path for them.”
Liptak, who started her career working in public relations and outreach for an arts group in Bridgeport, said hearing the stories of students who have rediscovered their educational path is also inspiring.
“One of my favorite things about the job is hearing all of the different stories and being able to assist them in reaching their goals and moving forward,’’ Liptak said. “So many students come back for different reasons. It’s inspiring to see what motivates them. Whether it’s a career change, their kids are older or they're starting college for the first time, it’s great to see them returning to school for their education.”
Liptak said most students in the IDEAL Program -- which is for adults age 23 and up -- are motivated to continue their education. “They’re ready to get going,’’ Liptak said. “It’s great to see that enthusiasm.”
Some students, however, are cautious about making the commitment. That’s where Liptak has to explore the student’s motivation.
“It’s something we don’t take lightly,’’ Liptak said. “We want to make sure they feel comfortable. We’ll have an admissions meeting and it just opens up the conversation and we’re able to explore what their academic goals are. Some students just want a degree for their own personal fulfillment. We try to work with them to find the right fit.”
Liptak’s focus for students is to get them comfortable with the program. Many students have enrolled in the IDEAL Program because of their initial contact with Liptak, who makes a personal connection with each student.
“It’s scary for students to come back to school,’’ Liptak said. “They don’t want to come to a place where they’re just another number again. We’re a little more approachable in the way we handle admissions.”
Bridgeport’s IDEAL Program also offers flexibility, including evening and weekend classes and online learning that lets students study on their time.
“A lot of our students are working full-time,’’ she said. “It’s a much different environment than it is for traditional students. Trying to find that balance and managing it is one of the biggest deterrents for prospective students. The way our classes are structured, with evening, weekend and online classes, it’s as customized as possible. We find the balance that works for them.”
For more information about the IDEAL Program, click here.