Published on 2012/11/08

Behind My Decision: Picking the Right Institution

Ensuring that class scheduling lines up with an adult student’s work and family needs is critical in the decision to enroll at a given college or university.

When you are young, sometimes you make mistakes that affect your life down the road. One of the mistakes that a number of young adults make is to finish high school as soon as possible and run from education. In this situation, these individuals quickly learn that without higher education, they are not qualified for many well-paid jobs. Therefore, these individuals need to return to college or university and get the education that they missed earlier. However, this is harder to do as an adult than as an 18-year-old. When you are 18, you are young; you don’t have many other commitments taking up your time, and you can be 100 percent committed and focused on your learning. The challenge you come across as an adult going back to school is finding the institute that is designed for working adults.

There are many great institutions that provide great education programs. However, the majority of them are designed for students who enroll right out of high school. Classes are scheduled early in the morning or mid-day. It works well for the students who are young, without full-time jobs, and with no family to take care of. What about the students who are full-time working adults with families who might not have be able to take classes in the morning or mid-afternoon?

Class availability and scheduling is one key obstacle for adults who want to continue their education. When morning and afternoon classes are ruled out, often, there is not much choice left. This is exactly the challenge I had to go through when I made the decision to continue my education. Figuring out how to balance working two jobs and trying to go back to school as a full-time student was the biggest challenge.

Pfeiffer University is one institution that provides adult programs in Charlotte, North Carolina that are strictly intended for working adults. Classes are scheduled twice per week from 6-10 p.m. There are also classes available on Saturdays. The undergraduate program is under a split semester system, broken into two parts. Instead of needing to take four classes for 16 weeks, full-time students take two classes for the first eight weeks and two classes for the next eight weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the workload is intense, but concentrating on two subjects at a time is less stressful than four. With this program, I was able to juggle my jobs and still make it to my classes.

Furthermore, Pfeiffer University provides online classes for undergraduate and graduate programs. Online courses are very challenging and definitely require more time. One common misconception about online classes is that they are less work and easier to complete than in-class courses. However, they are a great option for the institution to have, as many adults do prefer online classes because they save them the time it takes to drive to and from campus. Time is what adults returning to continue their education do not have. On several occasions, online classes were the only way that I was able to continue my undergraduate program if I wanted to graduate in two years.

I am now looking to return to school for the last time and have had to begin the application process once more. While finding the right program is important, the school I apply to will be the one that meets my scheduling needs best.

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Readers Comments

Cindy Chao 2012/11/08 at 2:01 am

The split semester system is a great option for adult learners, and just one simple way that an institution can be sensitive to the different needs and challenges of working adult students. Although it does mean that the classes are faster, and completed quicker, and this does not suit everyone’s learning style. Despite this, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages here, especially for adult learners.

Grady Gaston 2013/02/13 at 2:25 pm

During my tenure at Pfeiffer I also took some online classes. They can definitely be tougher; but with online chat sessions/lectures, discussion boards and enough reading the online class can be a great option.

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