Ivan Draper

Ivan Draper

Class of 2020 Bachelor's of Science in Information Technology

A college degree can help you advance your current career or break into your dream career, and finding a rewarding career is one of the best ways to enrich your life. But for adult learners, it can be a challenge when life, family and work get in the way. So it was for Ivan Draper, but with Year Up at Peirce College, he found a way to make it work.

“I got married in 2013, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life to provide for my family,” explains Ivan. “I did not want to go to a traditional university because I knew I would be distracted. So, I went to ITT Tech, and what lead me to Peirce was a program by the name of Year Up.”

By providing access to a Peirce College education, professional development guidance and a paid internship at a top area employer, Year Up helps bridge the opportunity divide for urban youths. Year Up gave Ivan a glimpse at how Peirce makes college fit with working adults’ lives, and he really took to this approach to higher education.

"Peirce College and Year Up showed me a viable path to the future I wanted"

“While at ITT Tech, I felt like I was not going to be in the best position to get a job after graduating. But Peirce College and Year Up showed me a viable path to the future I wanted” says Ivan. “I wanted to be able to be at home with my family, and the online classes at Peirce presented me with the opportunity to do that. Along with the online classes, they have plenty of resources to help you while in your class, such as the Walker Center, tutors and Smarthinking. I can honestly say Peirce fit my life style – no Peirce Fit pun intended.”

Today, Ivan is enrolled in Peirce’s Information Technology bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security, and he’s taking his courses through the competency-based education (CBE) format. 

The Flexibility to Finish His Degree

For Ivan, CBE is the fastest path to completing his IT degree because it allows him to move at his own pace. He studies and proves that he’s mastered the program material on his own rather than attending traditional classes, earning college credits every time he masters a “competency.” Ivan says the flexibility CBE offers and the support he gets from Peirce’s staff and faculty are making earning a college degree more feasible for him than ever.

As much as Ivan enjoys the support and flexibility Peirce offers him in finishing his degree as a working adult, the goal isn’t just to get that piece of paper – it’s to use the skills and knowledge he learns to find a better career. The good news is he’s already started one, and it’s right here at Peirce.

“I am currently the System Support Technician at Peirce College, and once I have my degree I will try to take over the world – just joking,” he says with a laugh. “I will continue to work for the school of course, until I feel like it’s time for me to leave, but I love it here, so I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

We’re hoping he’ll stay with us for the long haul, but wherever Ivan’s career takes him, we’re happy Peirce College will have helped him get there. Ivan got into IT because he enjoys the feeling of helping problem-solve for others. IT was the department everyone else called when they needed help in Ivan’s past jobs, and that really stuck out to him. Now he has some helpful advice for other working adults considering following his example and pursuing an IT degree of their own.

“Give it a shot. You never want to live in regret because you did not try to stretch yourself beyond your limits.”