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Non-Credit Programs Designed With Adult Learners in Mind

For some adults, continuing their education can present obstacles that would make going back to school an unjustifiable challenge. But Karen LaMarsh, director of development and training at the Clayton State University Center for Continuing Education, said this is simply not the case if the right programs are made available.

“Non-degree certificate programs can be a good option for non-traditional students because they are focused and don’t take as long to complete as college,” LaMarsh told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  “They allow you to test-drive a new career to see if you like it before you spend valuable time and thousands of dollars on a degree.”

With the expansion of programs that provide expertise in a subject area or lead to certifications rather than two- or four-year degree programs, LaMarsh said there is a great deal of opportunity for non-traditional students to continue their education.

LaMarsh said her institution offers classes during the day and evening as well as on Saturdays to help meet the needs of their adult students. She also suggests hosting information sessions before classes commence for students to get the opportunity to meet the instructors and ask any questions. This, according to LaMarsh, is critical to ensuring student retention.

“I encourage them to meet the instructors. If you are going to spend four to 18 months with someone, it’s good to know who they are,” LaMarsh told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.