Overcoming Obstacles: How a CTU Commercial Reinvigorated A Student’s Passion to Learn

CTU Student Kelly SmithKelly Smith’s story of rebirth, hope and passion is nothing short of amazing. And the “magical” moment that her “new life” began happened as she sat on the couch in her home in southwest Louisiana and heard a television commercial about Colorado Technical University. 

Kelly is legally blind—her vision is 20/400. After 10 years as a successful graphic designer and photo restoration expert, she began having headaches and started to lose her vision. Many doctors’ appointments followed and she was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease. She had over 10 surgeries and procedures in 2012 and 2013.

Overwhelmed by Challenges

Her disease is not life threatening, but it sure was life changing for Kelly. While she can see some images and movement, she can no longer work as a graphic designer, or read words on a page.

At the age of 35, with no career and feeling hopeless, Kelly thought she would never find a way to cope with the effects of her illness. She could no longer see the faces of her family and friends, colorful flowers, beautiful sunsets, rainy days, the many musical instruments she loved to play, or the hats, scarves and other creations she crocheted.

“I was in a dark and hopeless place for a very long time—for years,” Kelly said. As far as she was concerned, life as she knew it was over.

And then it happened.

A Magical Moment

One day in February 2015, Kelly had her TV on - she likes to listen and can make out some images. A CTU commercial came on and she heard the announcer say something like, “Do you have work and life experience? If so, you can get college credit with Fast Track™ and earn a degree at CTU.”

She jumped up off her couch and yelled, “Yes, I have work and life experience and yes I want a degree!”

Before the commercial was over, Kelly was already on her computer and on the CTU website learning about Fast Track™. Fast Track™ exams test knowledge of key course objectives, that, when passed, can save students up to 30% in time and money.

“By the end of that night, I had signed up for CTU and I started taking classes two days later,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s Fast Track™ success earned her credit for nine courses in her Associate of Science in Business Administration program, saving her many months of courses and tuition costs.

Kelly uses the CTU audio features for her courses and said that besides the special features on her own computer, she did not need any type of technical accommodations from CTU to participate in her courses. “Even though I like to share my story, some of my CTU class members don’t even know I am legally blind,” Kelly said. “I’m a CTU student—just like everyone else.”  

Time Saved Means More Time for Hobbies

“I started making plans with all the extra time I gained from passing CTU Fast Track™ exams,” Kelly said. She began to revisit the passions in her life that she had let go of because of the hopelessness she felt due to her disease—especially singing and songwriting. “I’m now recording a blues album of my original music with professional musicians and a production company,” she said.

“Before CTU, I never would’ve thought that I could ever have had the confidence to pursue my life-long dream of writing, singing, recording, and performing music. CTU has truly made me feel that I can do anything now.”

Kelly is grateful for CTU. “My experience with CTU is nothing less than magical—this college has given me my life back.”

Hear another story from a student who passed CTU Fast Track™ exams, and learn more about Fast Track™.

The ability to reduce time in school and/or reduce tuition depends on the number of Fast Track™ courses successfully passed. Fast Track™ program credits are unlikely to transfer. Not all programs are eligible for possible 30% reduction in time and money.