MOTHER-OF-TWO Pieta Lindner-Ellis gives Charles Sturt University (CSU) Dubbo Campus full marks for treating her like a person and not a number.
The 37-year-old Dubbo woman is also convinced that it provided her only chance of becoming a nurse, given she has a business to help run and children to raise.
Yesterday she was awarded a Bachelor of Nursing at a graduation ceremony for 94 CSU students at Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre.
In turn she heaped praise on the city's campus, a launching pad for a much-desired and long-awaited career that will begin in February at Dubbo Base Hospital.
"This campus is wonderful," she said.
"We had 17 students in our class with one-on-one teaching.
"It's not that whole big lecture theatre and a lecturer barking at you. You've actually got interaction and the lecturers know you.
"I think you've got a little bit more support here as well. I really enjoyed that. You're not just a number to them, you're actually a person."
Ms Lindner-Ellis also found herself among contemporaries at the campus, making the "very scary" move back to the classroom after almost 20 years less daunting.
Her class included many mature-age students, some of them from outlying communities who travelled to Dubbo to attend on-campus lectures.
"They all had families or were settled," Ms Lindner-Ellis said.
Yesterday she donned her graduation gear and looked back on three years that would not have been possible without the support of family.
"They probably sacrificed as much as I did really," said the "ecstatic" graduate.
About 270 family members and friends attended yesterday's ceremony to cheer on the graduates who included 22-year-olds Michala Walkom, of Dubbo, and Brianna Cook, of Tomingley.
Both were awarded a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary).
Ms Walkom had welcomed the opportunity to live at home while studying, while Ms Cook found on-campus accommodation "a lot of fun" and a chance to make new friends.