Rudy Cordero tried college after he graduated from Lane Tech in 2007, but it wasn’t a good fit at the time due to exceptional family circumstances. He decided to enter the workforce and did well professionally, having various management roles in the retail, marketing, and tech industry. But he realized that no matter how hard he worked, he would always reach a point where he couldn’t move up any further without a degree – so after a work assignment in Mexico City, he decided to go back to school at Harold Washington College.

Harold Washington was conveniently located in the loop, had flexible class schedules for working adults, and it was easy to get to from his home in Pilsen and his office downtown. Always interested in math and computer science, he jumped into being a full-time student while continuing to work full-time.

“Unfortunately, City Colleges aren’t recognized for the opportunities that they can provide – especially to those with nontraditional backgrounds. I thought it would be a stepping stone, but it’s opened so many doors for me and I feel incredibly supported as I know other nontraditional students do,” he explained.

Rudy now works at a tech start up in a role that combines his background in finance and computer science. He graduates this May with his Associate of Arts in Computer Science. So far, he has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, and is also considering the Harvard Extension School, which would provide both academic rigor and a flexible schedule for working adults.

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