Seven years ago, Brittany Halbsgut was a hairstylist on welfare, having to take shifts at the salon’s front desk just to make ends meet.
Her career was not where she expected it to be, prompting her to enroll at Community College of Philadelphia. “I Initially felt like college was not for me. But as I was thinking about where I was in life and what I wanted for myself, I decided it was time to go to college," she said. "I couldn’t move on with my life, couldn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve. I was exhausted and I was drained. I will always be passionate about cutting hair but it was not an industry where I could truly thrive and be my best self. ”
After refreshing her skills by taking remedial math, Brittany discovered—much to her surprise—that she, in fact, was college material. Enrolling at CCP “is absolutely the best decision I made for my education, my career and my life,” said Brittany, who graduated with an associate degree in Communication Studies from CCP in 2017 and was accepted at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school. “If anyone, or even your children, would like to talk more about how to get started at #communitycollege from nothing, please reach out,” she recently wrote in a post on LinkedIn.
With so many college plans turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany, who is an HR Manager for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, decided to share her CCP experience with others on LinkedIn who might—for the first time—be facing life-changing decisions, as she did, and looking at community college as an option.
Brittany said she selected CCP largely due to its affordability, and its evening and weekend classes.
After taking a few courses on campus, she discovered the convenience of online learning. "That made a huge difference," she said. "I felt less stress. I was able to balance my life. The online classes really changed my perspective. I felt CCP was giving me options that worked for my life.”
Her CCP course credits transferred over to the University of Pennsylvania, even though they were about a third of the cost of credits there, Brittany said, “As the future of traditional universities is changing, I encourage high school students to consider attending their community college at least for the first year,
Brittany, like many others, is facing uncertainty in her life right now. That is why she recently took time to reflect upon her transformation, and why she feels that experience will continue to guide her.
Since attending CCP, Brittany has changed careers, bought a house, traveled to Europe and received promotions at work. She credits CCP for everything she has. “I would not be where I am today if CCP hadn’t given me the opportunity to prove what I can do. It was exactly what I needed to build the life I wanted.”
Come December, she hopes to add one more credential to her resume: bachelor's degree in Organizational Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.