Adult students seeking an undergraduate degree at East Tennessee State University are numerous, but sometimes it is hard for this group to return to school to finish after a break or even start a degree.
For that reason, ETSU is hosting an event called “Begin Again at ETSU: A Degree is the Key,” a free public information session to be held Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Hotel Grand Soldiers Ballroom.
The state defines an adult student as anyone at least 25 years old.
Amy Johnson, assistant dean for degree programs, said Begin Again is really targeted toward any student who is thinking about returning to school.
“So a lot of times when we think about adult students it’s often students who have earned some college credits somewhere along the line that might have been at ETSU, that might have been at the community college, that might have been at a school nowhere close to ETSU, or it could be a student that maybe was in the military that has some credit on an arts transcript,” Johnson said. “It could be a student who might have some other form of non-traditional credit, for example, a lot of students don’t know that if you are a certified professional secretary you can get credit for that learning at ETSU.
“So it’s for those student who have some previous college credit, but it’s also for students who never went to school and are thinking, ‘You know, I’d really like to change my career’ or ‘I have a new career and I need some additional skills.’ ”
About 10 years ago Begin Again was an annual event, but budget restrictions and other things eliminated the program. Johnson said this year, though, there is a new emphasis on recruiting adult and non-traditional students. Oftentimes this group can feel overwhelmed just thinking about how to start college again, Johnson said.
“Sometimes the biggest barrier for a student to come back to school is just knowing how to take that first step, and what we like to use Begin Again for is a one-stop shop for students to get their questions answered about going back to school,” Johnson said. “So the university can seem like a huge unwieldy place, and at Begin Again everyone’s in one room where you can talk to them about financial aid and admission, about an individual program, about specialized services for adults and veterans, about child care, those kinds of things.”
Besides not knowing how to begin, some prospective adult students may worry about accommodating their jobs or providing child care or both.
Johnson pointed out that ETSU does have child care on campus and a new breastfeeding room in the D.P Culp University Center. She also said many programs are now online to make it easier for people who do shift work to accomplish school work in their off time.
“It’s probably easier than ever for an adult with those kinds of responsibilities to go to school at ETSU,” she said “It’s going to be hard, but everything worth doing is going to be hard.”
Begin Again will offer representatives of the ETSU offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Scholarships, Cross-Disciplinary Studies, University Career Services, Veterans Affairs, ETSU Online and Graduate Studies to discuss their services and procedures. According to ETSU, current adult students will also be available to share stories of returning to school and how to juggle academics with family, employment and other responsibilities.
For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, call ACTS at 439-5641 or visit www.etsu.edu/acts.