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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:10:24 00:27:00

SUBMITTED PHOTO A student works on a laptop on the patio at Clarks Summit University.

S. ABINGTON TWP. — It’s back to school time. That usually prompts images of kids getting new backpacks and clothes and school supplies. But for some, the adults are the ones heading back to their studies.

In today’s job market, degrees are important. The U.S. Census reports that the number of adults age 25 and older with a master’s degree has doubled to 21 million in the past 20 years. Adults with a doctoral degree has also doubled to 4.5 million. More and more, an advanced degree is required or will result in a higher salary. Adults are realizing how valuable it is to further their education, and colleges are catering to this need.

Clarks Summit University has people in place to help adults transition back to school. It is possible to balance the demands of a career and family and earn a degree. CSU’s online classes run in digestible eight-week sessions and are offered in a flexible format, where no “live” session attendance is required; students do the work where and when it’s most convenient for them.

Practical tips

Adult learners can take some steps to prepare to go back to school.

First, clarify your priorities. Beth McGrew, an academic advisor for online students at CSU, recommends enlisting the support of family and close friends.

“You will probably have to let go of some things,” she says. “Talk it through and let others know how they can support you as you go back to school. Don’t try to do it all.”

Next, prepare by familiarizing yourself with technology that may be used in online classes. Give yourself ample time to brush up on basic programs like Microsoft Word or Outlook.

CSU’s online class platform, Schoology, features a format similar to Facebook to allow a simple and familiar learning experience.

Margaret Pisanchyn, director of admissions for adult and graduate studies at CSU, encourages students to take advantage of resources such as the online writing center and library database.

“The writing center will be able to give advice and editing suggestions for writing assignments while the library database provides hundreds of resources for students.”

CSU’s online classroom and resources are specifically set up to help online and adult learners succeed.

Finally, prepare for classes by utilizing your learning style with the online format.

“If you’re an auditory learner or struggle with reading, try some apps that read your books aloud to you,” suggests McGrew.

As an adult student, you have the advantage that 18-year-olds don’t: you have had more time to establish and learn about yourself, which means that you can create your own learning success plan.

What program is the right fit for you?

At CSU, there are numerous options for adults to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree online. CSU offers associate and bachelor’s degrees with majors in addictions counseling, Bible and theology, business administration, Christian ministries, counseling and criminal justice. A unique degree completion program allows adults to transfer in a large number of credits to finally finish a degree they had previously started. Master’s degrees include programs in literature, counseling and education. Baptist Bible Seminary offers deeper theological study in online Master of Arts, Master of Divinity and Master of Ministry, with multiple tracks to choose from. BBS also features a Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy offered in an enhanced online format.

Learn more at ClarksSummitU.edu/online.

Haley Seboe is an admissions counselor at Clarks Summit University and a 2017 graduate from CSU’s Communications-Writing program.