Jackie Rios: Taking Charge of Her Future


By Chris Bigelow Published on September 25, 2017

After high school, Jackie Rios worked at a bank for seven years. “I thought I already had a career,” she recalls. “I didn’t think I needed any more education. I was getting paid well. But then I started having kids.” As her family grew, Jackie realized that what she had was a job, not a career.

Jackie wanted more flexibility and control over her own life. She wanted to run her own business rather than work for someone else. In addition, she wanted to set a better example for her children. “What am I going to tell my daughter when she asks, ‘Did you go to school?’” Jackie recalls wondering. “No, because I already worked a good job? How am I going to persuade her to go to college if I didn’t?”

At one point, Jackie had tried attending a community college. However, she didn’t have a good experience there. She felt the college was too impersonal. She didn’t make the personal connections and get the individual support she needed to complete her degree program. As a result, she dropped out.

The CollegeAmerica Difference

“I decided I wanted to go back to school and get a business degree,” Jackie says. But this time she needed a college that was right for her. When she found CollegeAmerica, the first thing that impressed her was the flexibility. “I had three kids, and one of them was six months old, so I needed the flexible schedule. Otherwise, it wasn’t going to happen!”

The first time Jackie visited CollegeAmerica, she could see the difference right away. “They cared about me. They were really interested in what career I wanted to do. They explained everything very well. They were so nice and friendly, and I loved the environment. I’m like, ‘I want to be part of this.’ I signed up that day.”

During her degree program, Jackie appreciated CollegeAmerica’s small classes and her personal connections with her instructors. “They know you have a life outside of college. College is not the only thing you have to deal with. They really care about their students, and I felt like I was important to the school. I was part of this big CollegeAmerica family.”

A few months after Jackie started her degree program, she faced a life-changing event and considered dropping out. She discussed her situation with the dean of the business school. “Amy just talked to me like a friend. She helped me through my emotions and explained to me what my options were. If it wasn’t for Amy’s support and our conversation that day, I would have dropped out. She gave me the motivation I needed to keep going. I’m really thankful!”

“I feel happy and accomplished!”

After Jackie took a tax-preparation class at CollegeAmerica, a college connection helped her get a job at a tax-preparation service. Before long, she was managing the office. “I really liked the tax business,” Jackie recalls. Today, she owns her own successful tax business. She appreciates the opportunity to employ fellow CollegeAmerica students and graduates.

“I’ve seen the TV commercials that say, ‘CollegeAmerica changed my life,’” Jackie says. “You just think, ‘Oh, that’s what they tell them to say.’ But I can truly say that CollegeAmerica has changed my life. I feel happy and accomplished. I’m 27 years old, and I’ve done a lot with my life. I have my degree. I have my own business. Now I can work on my dream and my business and be financially stable for myself and my kids.”

Jackie credits her success to her decision to attend CollegeAmerica. “I’m really excited. I have so many plans, and I don’t want to go too fast, but I’m so pumped up that I’m just ready to go out there and show the world what I’ve got!”