MOUNT LAUREL >> Around the same time many 16-year-olds were still navigating the high school terrain, Rowan College at Burlington County student Kaya Kraft was in the process of graduating.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Kraft’s innate curiosity and love of learning pushed her two years ahead of her actual grade level, putting her in the position to earn her high school diploma at just 16 years of age.
Kraft comes from an atypical background. She graduated from Memoria Press Online Academy, a Christian school that emphasizes an education steeped in the Liberal Arts. It provides instruction in Latin, logic, classical studies and literature, as well as history and mathematics.
After receiving this foundation, Kraft set her sights on a local higher education option. Having grown up in Medford, she clocked in at just under seven short miles to RCBC’s Mount Laurel Campus. She drove by often and the modern buildings caught her eye.
“In 2019, I went to the Fall Open House, and I knew that this was the campus where I wanted to start my future,” Kraft recalled. “The 3+1 program really caught my eye because you can save so much money. I also read an article about how community colleges are a diamond in the rough. For instance, a class in philosophy, whether it is at an Ivy League or at a community college, is still a philosophy class.”
Kraft, who’s pursuing a 3+1 Liberal Studies, has held an interest in becoming an attorney since taking a high school logic course.
“I have always sought to help people in the legal field and to prove my case,” Kraft shared. “With this in mind, I have decided that becoming a prosecutor would be the correct career path for me.”
Beyond her penchant for law, Kaya is also an avid writer. She’s maintained her Facebook blog, Kaya’s Korner, for about seven years now. In it, she interviews and promotes local businesses. During her free time, she also volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet Chief Master Sergeant, helping with disaster relief (such as COVID-19), as well as learning chain of command, how to fly planes, emergency first aid, leadership skills and general military customs.
As for choosing the community college pathway, to Kraft, it’s a no-brainer both in terms of the quality of education and the cost.
“I would rather not have to pay off student debt,” she said. “I think, in the future, community colleges are going to be a greater gift to our society than we realize. You get a great education, it does not cost you your life savings, I have found my professors are amazing educators and I enjoy the student comradery.”
To learn more about RCBC’s 3+1 Liberal Studies program, visit rcbc.edu/3plus1/liberal-studies.