In the wake of economic recession and with more companies pushing for a college degree as a minimum requirement, it’s no surprise that education is moving up the list of most common New Year’s resolutions. But the idea of returning to school — or going for the first time — can seem like an overwhelming task.
At Georgia Southern University, non-traditional students hold a high school diploma or GED; have been out of high school for five or more years; and if they were previously enrolled in college courses, they have earned fewer than 30 transferrable credit hours.
“It’s a significant decision, but one that is definitely worth it,” said Janet O’Brien, director of Georgia Southern’s Academic Success Center. “Non-traditional students are more anxious about taking the step because they may not realize how rewarding the experience can be. Or they may not be aware of the many resources we have to fuel their success.”
O’Brien said their top concern — like most students — is eligibility for financial aid. Although many assistance programs are need-based, there are numerous aid opportunities available. She suggests that college hopefuls work with the Office of Financial Aid to work out the best options for individual cases.
Others are concerned that they may not be able to handle the coursework, but the Academic Success Center has many resources available to assist students as they embark on their educational journey. They can participate in first-year experience classes targeted at nontraditional students, core subject tutoring, refresher courses in math, reading and English, and even priority registration.
“Non-traditional students are often faced with daily responsibilities — perhaps work or children — which reduce the amount of time they have to attend class and study,” O’Brien said. “Registering early gives them an opportunity to tailor their course load to best fit their schedule.”
Time restraints are often what drive these students to participate in online programs — a growing area of academic excellence for Georgia Southern.
The University’s newest fully online program, a Bachelor of General Studies, is a multidisciplinary, flexible option for students who desire a well-rounded education in preparation for the workforce or graduate programs. Options for customization allow students to choose three specialty areas in order to tailor the degree to best fit their interests or future career needs.
Whether participating in the online BGS or any of Georgia Southern’s undergraduate programs, non-traditional students have a variety of options and resources to help them reach their goals.
What next? The first step is easy. Just visit Georgia Southern’s website, www.georgiasouthern.edu/admissions for more information.