This Insights article was contributed by Brittany Hays McGreal, Assistant Director of Community College Partnerships at North Carolina Wesleyan.
The word value is typically associated with the importance or worth of something, but what one person considers valuable may not be what someone else would consider of value.
Values may change within one family, state to state and worldwide based on cultural upbringing or socioeconomic status.
Although the regard to how much value something has varies from person to person there are a few key elements that remain the same. In higher education, you can determine what value you are receiving based on the five Cs; cost, curriculum, class size, customer service, and convenience.
As an adult learner, you have experiences that far reach what can be learned in a classroom and weighing the cost to earn an education means a lot more now than it would have when you were 18 years old. You have more financial responsibilities and you know the value of the dollar.
There are so many options available on how to earn a bachelor’s degree, especially with the introduction of online courses, that going to an expensive institution is outdated.
Adult learners want to know that they are going to get the most bang for their buck because, for some, this means redirecting finances from an activity their child might participate in or holding off on that home remodel for a few more months, so it has to be worth it. Many institutions offer discounts and scholarships so don’t be afraid to ask; it might end up saving you thousands of dollars.
Do your research because at the end of the day a degree is a just piece of paper; what you make of that piece of paper is where the true value is.
When comparing the curriculum of different colleges, it is important to note their accreditation. A big mistake aspiring students make is not checking the accreditation of the college or university they are looking to attend and it becomes a major regret later on.
Regional accreditation means that a school is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and they are held to standards and processes to access the academic quality and the accountability expectations established by CHEA to ensure they can be degree-granting. This also ensures that the credits that a student earns can be transferred into other CHEA recognized institutions.
Another important factor to consider is the degree program you select. Will that degree program enhance your career opportunities and open new doors financially? That is where the real value can be determined.
A one-size-fits-all format has gone out the window in regards to higher education. Assessing your learning style can help you determine which educational setting you will get the most value from. Do you learn better in a large group setting, a smaller more personalized approach or sitting in your home office alone?
Everyone learns differently and there are more options now than ever in higher education to fit the needs of adult learners. It has been our experience that adult learners prefer a more individualized approach and smaller class sizes to help overcome fears of being back in the classroom.
At North Carolina Wesleyan College, we pride ourselves on providing the very best in customer service. When picking a school, it is important to understand how you will be treated. How does that institution value you and your business?
We understand the majority of our students have been away from the classroom for many years and going back to school can seem very overwhelming. We want our students to feel like they are not alone in this journey but also provide a one-stop-shop format where they are treated like a person and not a number. Our offices handle everything in house, so a student will work with the same small group of staff members from their very first interaction with the school until the day they graduate.
It is important to consider the impact of how the process of earning a bachelor’s degree will impact your everyday life.
If it not going to be convenient then you are not going to be able to commit and be successful.
Convenience means something different to everyone, so ask yourself some key questions when determining the value of convenience. Will this drastically interrupt my everyday routine? Is the class schedule and format easily accessible? Does an accelerated format work better for me or do I need longer semesters? Will I be committed to putting in the time that is needed to be successful? Will seated classes be more beneficial to my learning style and schedule or will an online format be better?
The true value of higher education comes when a person makes that leap of faith and commits to earning their bachelor’s degree. A whole new world is waiting to be opened up, accelerating your career opportunities and change your way of thinking. Take a good hard look at your options and make the best decision for yourself and your future.
Brittany is the Assistant Director of Community College Partnerships for the North Carolina Wesleyan College Office of Adult and Professional Studies. She began her career with NCWC in 2014 as an Admissions and Advising Coordinator, where her passion grew for recruiting and advising students.She then moved up to Assistant Director, where she was able to train new employees and assist with operations and marketing efforts. Prior to working for NCWC, Brittany had a successful career in New York City with a commercial real estate trade association in the specialty conference division. She has also held roles with the State University of New York at Cortland in alumni relations and The American Red Cross doing public relations. If you are interested in finding out more information about NCWC’s degree programs, please contact [email protected].
Dani Somers is the Assistant Director of Admissions for North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Adult & Professional Studies. She started her career with NC Wesleyan College in 2016. NCWC offers students the ability to obtain their degree in an affordable and conveniently formatted program. Please visit www.ncwc.edu/BelieveNow or email [email protected] for more information.
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