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posted: 7/14/2014 1:55 PM

Fast Track graduation

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Harper College News Bureau

The thought of going to school – on top of working and raising a child with special needs – could have prevented Katie Gockenbach from ever taking that first step toward a degree. But the single mother from Lake Zurich knew the journey would be possible given the right environment. Gockenbach found the schedule and support she needed at Harper College's accelerated Fast Track program, designed specifically for students who want to complete their degree or career certificate by attending just one or two class sessions a week.

"When I started, I knew what my schedule would look like for the next two years," Gockenbach, 36, said. "Your whole track is laid out for you, so it really removes the guess work and the stress of a changing routine."

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Gockenbach, who hopes to run a medical office, is now set to graduate with an Associate in Applied Science degree in business administration. She's also earning certificates in general management, advanced management and human resources.

More than 75 students will be recognized at the Fast Track graduation ceremony from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at the Harper Professional Center, 650 E. Higgins Road, Suite 9S, Schaumburg. Prospective students are invited to an information session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, at the HPC. Attendees will learn about Fast Track programs including the new daytime Associate in Arts in business administration. They'll also see that it's possible to gain skills, earn credentials and succeed in today's competitive employment market while leading an already busy life.

Gockenbach said she also benefited from the support offered through Fast Track's cohort model, in which students attend all program courses together. "You're with the same people all the time and really get to know everybody," Gockenbach said. "I for one don't like public speaking, so sharing my work was a lot easier."

To RSVP or for more information, call 847.925.6700 or visit harpercollege.edu.

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