Very early in life I decided that receiving a higher education was not an option; it was something that must happen.
After high school I enrolled in our local community college here in Cleveland, TN. Cleveland State Community College was an economically responsible choice because while I wanted a degree I really wasn’t at the maturity level to waste my parents money and travel off to a University like the university of Tennessee.
After starting but not completing my associates degree at Cleveland State I joined the U.S. Navy, which delayed my degree completion. I did however take several college classes that were offered through the Navy and at the end of my 8 years I had earned around 40 or so semester hours and that did not include the military schools that possibly counted as college credits.
In 2008, as a part of my job, I was assigned to a local elementary school and their School Resource Officer. Working with highly educated teachers inspired me to go back to school so I enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. That lasted a couple of years and after an unsuccessful semester I stopped going.
It is now 2011 and I am enrolled as a full-time student at Bryan College. Bryan has a Bachelors Degree completion program which in my opinion is great. I attend class on Monday nights for 14 months. At the end of the 14 months I should have enough credits to graduate with my Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management.
So far the classes have been fairly manageable. They are by no means easy though. There is no traditional testing but instead we write a lot of essays on what we think about certain topics that we read and talk about. The accreditation body, Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS), requires these essays in lieu of testing.
For the adult student who wants to finish their degree I would highly recommend a school similar to Bryan College. The groups are small, the work is manageable but more importantly, the work and topics taught in class are practical and useful. There is no reason why you shouldn’t do it.
Here are a couple of tips though for picking a college:
1. Ensure the school is accredited by a reputable accrediting body, not some fly-by-night agency.
2. Check prices. Some degree completion courses can cost upwards of 20k (which is too much in my opinion).
3. Get references. With the ability to ask questions, to literally thousands of people, on FaceBook and twitter there is no excuse for not asking your friends about experiences with certain colleges that you are looking in to.
4. Will they provide books with your tuition or will you have to provide them at an additional cost?
5. If you are eligible for the Montgomery G.I. Bill, can you use it at the school you are choosing?
In closing, go back to school. Even if you don’t go back to finish a degree I still recommend going back to school. We are never too old to stop learning and I promise, it will be worth it and you will grow as a person.