It’s easy to think that if you didn’t get your college degree in your early 20s, your window of opportunity is closed. But today, that’s just not the case. There are more and more degree completion programs designed specifically for adult learners. And, in a state like Alabama with a robust community college system and dedicated resources for adult learners, that’s never been more true than today. Your journey to completing a college degree isn’t as far out of your reach as you think.
First, recognize that you have an advantage – you have life experience the average college student simply hasn’t earned yet. You’ve navigated the pressures and demands of adulthood. Whether that’s in the workplace, as a parent, managing your household budget, or even the maturity you’ve developed in complex relationships with friends and family, you’ve already grown in ways a college student has only begun to explore.
The courage and resolve it takes to balance those constraints will certainly carry over into how you handle the classroom. But, some colleges will even give you college credits for it! The nationally-recognized Prior Learning Assessment is a method for quantifying and allowing college credit for learning you obtained outside a traditional college classroom. Whether that’s through on-the-job training, certifications, seminars, or even military education, you can leverage that hard-fought life experience towards your degree completion goals!
As you consider your options, it’s important to look for an adult degree completion program that meets your needs in terms of cost, time, and personalization. You’ll want a program designed for adults that works with your schedule and your budget. And, you’ll want a degree completion program that fits your specific career and life goals.
In Alabama, there are a few unique things you should consider as you choose your degree completion program:
- Which unique certificates, licenses, and training will they count towards earned college credit?
A few examples might include your Alabama Real Estate License, the State of Alabama Insurance License Exam, a Huntsville Hospital Radiography Certification, or even things like Peace Officer Training. Common workplace training requirements like these can often translate into more than 20+ hours of lower-level credit towards your degree.
- How does the adult degree completion program match your needs?
As a non-traditional student, you want to look for a degree completion program that works with you to reduce barriers to your success while still providing academically sound classroom and workplace integration. It should be planned across a reasonable time frame and should have cost-efficient options that match your current situation. You should also make sure the program you choose will fully prepare you for advancement in your career field with managerial and leadership training in addition to any applicable professional accreditations.
Wherever you choose to finally earn that college degree and forge a path to your goals and dreams, you’ll want a degree completion program that recognizes and respects you as an adult. Alabama is a great state to go back to school as an adult, with a wealth of resources and robust opportunities. And you’ve worked hard enough to get to where you are today that there should be no doubt in your mind that with the right adult degree completion program, you can get to wherever you want to be tomorrow.