Kirsten H. Bunch
Continuing your education as an adult learner can open up so many doors. Whether your goal is to increase your marketable skills to be considered for a promotion or make a career change, earning additional credentials can present endless opportunities in your life.
There’s never been a better time to go back to school, whether part time or full time. Blue Ridge is offering free college this academic year. We also have more resources for adult learners than ever before, including our new success coaches. And Blue Ridge offers all of the great credentials that are needed in our community’s current workforce.
Despite the advantages of continuing one’s education, there are unique challenges adult learners may face. We recognize that adult learners come to us with an already “full plate.” Work, family, financial and home obligations—the list is endless. Adult learners have many competing priorities that take up their time. It can be a true juggling act to add college into the mix.
We understand that while receiving a credential is important, flexibility is the key to making this possible. We have flexible course schedules with classes offered during the day, in the evening and online. We also have credentials that can be completed in as little as one month and associate degrees that can be completed in two years.
Adult learners can also enjoy campus resources to support them during their educational journeys, including success coaches, free tutoring support, counseling services and financial aid, just to name a few.
Success coaches for adult learners
Knowing that adults come to us with an already full plate, we assign success coaches to our students who are 25 and older to provide comprehensive support. Thanks to a grant awarded to Blue Ridge Community College through the Dogwood Health Trust, we hired two full-time success coaches to support our students.
A success coach is a support person to help students overcome challenges by utilizing campus and community support. The success coach serves as a go-to person for students who experience any barriers or challenges, or if they have a question and they aren’t sure who to ask. They also provide coaching around topics like study strategies, time management and self-awareness.
Educating adult learners benefits the entire community
Educating adult learners in our community helps feed the local workforce. Filling vacant positions keeps our businesses and industries staffed and thriving, which in turn makes our community a more vibrant, enjoyable, and safer place to live.
For more information about programs offered at Blue Ridge Community College and registration information, please visit our website at www.blueridge.edu or call 828-694-1800.
Kirsten H. Bunch is vice president for student services at Blue Ridge Community College.