When she became a mother of twin boys at age 15, Brittany Eppihimer thought her plans for college were over. But three years later, the determined young mother is partway through an online bachelor’s program.
She’s also one of three winners of the Get Educated $1,000 scholarship for online college students. Thanks to the award, Brittany will be able to help fund her dream of earning a college degree.
Unexpected Pregnancy Changes College Plans
“When I got pregnant when I was 15, it was a shock,” Brittany, now 18, says. “When you’re in school, you think you’re going to graduate at a certain time and then go to college.” But having twins changed her timeline. “It wasn’t within reach” to graduate with her local high school class, she says.
She went on a homebound study program and found a strong advocate in her program instructor. But several unsupportive teachers and poor communication from her high school added to her struggles. But she gained new motivation to finish high school and pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“When my boys came, I had a reason to do it,” she says.
She also had the support of her fiancé, Nate. “He’s not the boy’s biological father. He came into the picture when they were six months old. But he’s loved them as his own since then.”
Determined to graduate, Brittany attended a cyber high school at her guidance counselor’s urging. Her first exposure to online education was extremely positive, and she even graduated a semester early.
But a high school degree wasn’t enough. Brittany was motivated and ready to continue her schooling, particularly now that she had a major in mind.
A careers class taught by her cyber high school exposed her to many different professions, including accounting. After learning more about the field, she knew it was right for her and began searching for a program.
Liberty University Online Worked With Busy Mom Schedule
As a stay-at-home mom, her college options were limited. Online was a natural choice, especially since she had flourished at cyber school.
At her fiancé’s urging, she checked out Liberty University’s online degree programs.
“He goes to Liberty. He told me how they have an online program,” she says. “Even though Nate is a residential student, he was taking some online classes. He showed them to me.”
Impressed with the class outlines and overall ease of use, Brittany looked more closely at the school and found it offered a solid online accounting program with a faith-based foundation.
“I really liked how it was a Christian university and that you learn about ethics,” she says. “It helps at a business level and personal level.”
Liberty’s online class structure was also appealing.
“I really liked that the classes were eight weeks long. So if you’re taking 12 credits, you can do two classes together at one time. It’s all in the same semester. It doesn’t feel drawn out and accomplishable. I really liked that,” she says.
Knowing momentum is a vital key for online school success, Brittany began a bachelor’s program in February 2012.
“I only had about a two-week break between high school and college,” she says.
Still, the full-time college student and stay-at-home mom has found the workload manageable and professors supportive.
“The professors can’t just care about you on the educational level, they care about you on a personal level. They tell you that they’re praying for you,” she says.
Scholarship for Online Accounting Degree Eases Financial Stress
Winning a scholarship from Get Educated has eased some of the financial burden on Brittany and her family. After all, raising a family and going to school full-time can be expensive—especially when you’re 18 years old. The award money of $1,000 will cover almost half of her summer tuition costs, she notes. Brittany intends to continuously attend school and graduate as quickly as possible.
Future Plans for Masters Degree and CPA
Currently in her sophomore year, Brittany is already looking ahead to the future.
“Once I do get my degree, I want to take that further and get the experience I need to sit for my CPA exam.”
After earning her CPA accreditation and a master’s degree in accounting, she’d like to work from home and own her own accounting business, but “that will be determined down the line.”
As she’s experienced first-hand, life can quickly change. But Brittany is drawing strength from her family and faith to pursue her education and inspire other young mothers.
Get Educated offers the $1,000 scholarship for distance learning assistance twice a year. The program is based on both merit and need. The competitive online university grants are based on grade point average, a written essay and demonstrated financial need. Get Educated now about this unique free program for online students.
Online College Scholarship Resources
About Rachel Wang
Rachel Wang is a writer, editor and producer with a background in journalism and online media. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science and specializes in online learning news and trends for the Get Educated news team.