You’ve finally made it! You’re heading back to school to complete your degree after being out for years. College wasn’t a walk in the park when you first attended, but things are a bit different now. You probably have different obstacles to overcome this time around. As an adult student returning to complete your degree, you may have to balance your work and family responsibilities on top of going to school.
These are challenges traditional college students may not be confronting. Mississippi’s nine public universities and 15 community colleges want you to know they get it. And in response, each has developed unique student services and resources to help you overcome those hurdles.
Let’s take a closer look at some key services available to returning adults and how you can take full advantage of these resources.
An era in higher education
First, your timing is perfect, you couldn’t have picked a better time to return to finish your degree. Now more than ever, schools are adapting to the needs of non-traditional students as the number of adult learners increases each year.
In fact, as of 2021 over 33% of students enrolled in college are older than 25! Recognizing the unique challenges working adult learners face on the path to graduation, public colleges and universities throughout Mississippi have implemented a wide range of supportive resources to help students just like you achieve their goal of graduation.
What programs and resources are available locally?
Support Labs & Virtual Tutoring
College courses are meant to be challenging which means you’ll most likely need some assistance throughout the school year. Where do you turn? Well, to help returning students get access to the academic help they need, many schools offer support labs and one-on-one virtual tutoring. These resources allow students to get help from fellow classmates and other volunteers to improve their performance in the classroom. When reaching out be sure to be clear on your circumstances from the beginning so you can be sure the resource you’re connected to the right fit.
Do you have a bad grade or two from your previous time at college that you wish you could get a do-over on or could just disappear? Well, most of the colleges participating in Mississippi’s C2C Program will grant that wish, through academic forgiveness. Whether you struggled in the course because of the difficulty of the course content or personal issues you were confronting at the time, you’ll have the opportunity to retake the class or possibly even select another that can fulfill your degree requirements.
In either case, the original grade will be “forgiven” and not included in the calculation of your overall GPA. That not only adds to your bragging rights after graduation but also helps in ensuring you hurdle the GPA requirement to graduate! Some public Mississippi schools will even remove an entire grade from your previous transcript if it’s dragging down your overall GPA and isn’t relevant to your degree.
Online Classes & Courses
One of the most helpful changes for adult learners over the past few years has been the advancement of online learning. Now it’s possible to take the vast majority of your classes online and, in some cases, complete entire degree programs virtually. This invaluable option alone can make all the difference for working adults.
At-home parents as well look to online programs for the convenience and flexibility of completing coursework on their schedule. The growth in online classes has been a game-changer for those who were previously unable to finish their degree because of their unpredictable and demanding schedule. Now you can attend many classes literally anywhere and at any time of day you are available.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 22% of undergraduate students are parents. When you’re raising a family and going to school, there are times when you’ll need a hand with your kids. That’s why some of Mississippi’s public colleges have started offering on-campus childcare. This makes it possible for non-traditional students to attend on-campus classes and events with peace of mind knowing their children are safe and close by.
Eager to return to school but not sure if you have the funds to cover the cost of tuition? Mississippi public colleges have your back! Many schools offer generous grants that help adult learners return to school without having to think about the price. These programs go beyond the C2C Program’s renewable grant that provides eligible students $1,000 per semester. Plus, if you’re still looking for help after exhausting all potential financial aid, many of C2C’s participating colleges have flexible repayment plans. These allows you to focus on attending school now, without worrying about paying right away.
Prior Learning Assessments
It might have been a while since you’ve attended college, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t gained valuable experience. In fact, some Mississippi institutions participating in the C2C Program recognize knowledge you’ve developed outside of the classroom either through work, independent studying, volunteering, or training programs through a process known as prior learning assessments. At these schools, the learning you’ve gained outside of school can count towards satisfying the requirements of your degree!
How to make the most of these resources
You have many of these helpful programs and resources and more at your disposal when returning to school. But it’s up to you to take full advantage of this support and clear those hurdles on your way to the graduation stage. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re making the most of the resources provided by the participating C2C college you choose.
Figure out what’s available at your school
In an ideal world, every C2C participating college and university would be able to offer all these resources to returning students. The fact is, however, that each school varies in size and resources available for support services. Take the time to find out what is available now, regardless of if you need it now. The knowing what’s available barriers you’re facing could influence the decision of which school or campus you attend. So, inform yourself of the support that is available at your desired school.
Check out C2C’s brand-new College Resources page
Interested in learning more about the resources being offered across Mississippi’s community colleges and public universities? You’re in luck, we’ve got you covered! At C2C, we’re always looking for new ways to help adult learners connect with the resources they need to succeed and complete their degrees. We compiled a complete listing of the various forms of support available at each of our 24 participating institutions and provided them for you on an easy-to-access chart.
The chart lists all programs and resources available at each school and is grouped by community college and university so you can easily access what is available at your school. If you haven’t yet enrolled, see and easily compare what is offered at each. To learn more about any specific offering, at any of the schools, simply click the link provided. You’ll navigate to the page on the school’s site where you can read about it and get specific detail you need. Click here to access this exciting resource page.
Get the facts on how to access these resources
Once you’ve identified the specific support you are interested in, it’s time to get the specifics on accessing those resources. Visit the resource page at the college website, if available, and get the facts. Simply attending the institution may not be enough to ensure you can take advantage of what’s being offered. Some resources might have limited capacity, others could be time-sensitive, and in some cases, participation might even be dependent on your major. Check with the resource administrator or speak with your C2C Coach if you need help to getting details about participating.
Speak with your C2C Coach about your ongoing needs
The hurdles you face at the beginning of the school year aren’t the same obstacles you’ll face later on. New challenges will pop up demanding new solutions and resources. When you meet with your C2C Coach regularly and speak about your ongoing needs, it’s easier for you both to identify potential resources at your school that can support you in overcoming new hurdles.
C2C is your connection to these resources
The C2C Program was created for one purpose: to help adult Mississippians just like you return to college and complete their degrees. Every C2C student gets paired with a committed C2C Coach who will help them make the most of your college credits then outline a personalized path to graduation and support them throughout their path to graduation.
Your coach will be your go-to source to access available assistance and support offered by the C2C program and your selected school. They’ll help you get in contact with the programs and people you’ll need to succeed. They’ll help you initiate your C2C grant application and help you in renewing the $1,000 C2C Grant each qualifying semester. The grant is available only to qualified C2C Program participants and has been key for thousands in overcoming the financial barriers of returning to school.
Take five minutes to complete the C2C survey app, qualify for the program and see how close you are to a degree! You’ll then be able to schedule a call with a program representative. They’ll orientate you on the program, answer your general questions and prepare you to connect with your C2C Coach. You may have already earned enough credits for a degree or be closer than you think!