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Reach Higher

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Reach Higher is an adult degree completion initiative led by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. 

Can I Complete a College Degree as an Adult?

Oklahoma Reach Higher student graduating from Cameron University.

Reach Higher: FlexFinish, an adult degree completion program offers a convenient, flexible and affordable opportunity for working adults to complete college or earn another degree. Returning to college as an adult is a great way to make a career transition, learn new skills, learn new subjects of personal interest and enhance marketability in a competitive job market.

Unfortunately, many potential adult students with a desire to return to college are intimidated to begin the process of going back to school.

The steps of advisement, admissions, enrollment, and financial aid can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful.

Many potential adult students share similar concerns about returning to school such as:

  • The cost of completing a degree.
  • The time commitment involved.
  • The challenges of attending classes with younger students.
  • The benefits of a completed degree or certification.

However, Reach Higher coordinators and navigators are available at all of the participating institutions to help guide adult students through every step along the way, from choosing a home institution, mapping out a personalized degree plan that works with the student’s schedule, enrollment, to financial aid.

Reach Higher coordinators are happy to review an adult student’s transcript and advise them regarding the courses needed to complete their degree. Coordinators are available to communicate with students through email, over the phone or in person and are a fantastic resource to help potential students with advisement, enrollment, financial aid and answering any questions they may have regarding the schools they’re interested in attending as well as helping design a personalized plan to complete a degree.

Will I Fit In?

Because of the benefits of returning to college, many adult students are happy they didn’t allow their fears to keep them from completing a degree. Adult students should consider the following factors:

  • Many classes and programs can now be completed entirely online.
  • Many adult students find they enjoy interacting and learning with younger students who are enthusiastic about pursuing an education.

Most working adults returning to college, regardless of whether they attend in class or complete classes online, end up fitting in well and are more than capable of returning to college as an adult.

Is the Cost of a Degree Worth It?

It can be expensive to return to college. However, when education is viewed as an investment, the costs of attending college may not seem as large of a sacrifice. When making a plan to complete a college degree, it’s best to try and have a long term rather than short term perspective of the endeavor. Before making the decision against returning to college based on cost, consider how completing your degree will help you achieve your long-term career and educational goals.

How Can I Make the Time?

  • Adult students are already juggling many responsibilities. Planning to return to school can be an overwhelming addition to an already full schedule. Working full time, raising a family, and fulfilling other duties are enough to keep adults busy on a daily basis.
  • It’s possible to make time to return to college, and many adults manage it successfully. It may require giving up some time spent on leisurely activities, but it’s feasible to make the time. When adult students set a personal goal and commit to reach their goal, they can stay motivated to make the adjustments that will allow them to find success in completing their education.

Reach Higher: FlexFinish includes online programs that offer the flexibility to complete classes, projects, and exams when adult students have time in their schedules, whether it’s early in the morning or late in the evening. Students are not required to attend classes on campus, and course requirements can be completed at home.

What Can I Expect to Learn?

Adult students may not expect to learn a great amount of information when they make the decision to return to college to complete their degree. They may not expect to learn anything new that they haven’t already learned through their own work experiences.

However, through the Reach Higher: FlexFinish program, college courses are taught at accredited schools by qualified professors with expertise and experience in the subjects they teach. Whether an adult student chooses to complete a degree through on-campus courses or complete their degree completely online, they can expect to receive the benefits of learning from highly qualified instructors and from their interaction with other students and working adults.

While completing a degree through Reach Higher: FlexFinish, adult students have the opportunity to work closely with instructors and fellow classmates. Group work and interaction enables students to learn from other professionals with varying work experiences. New knowledge acquired from group interaction can immediately be applied in the workplace.

Why Should I Return to College as an Adult?

It is never too late to return to college and complete a degree! Reach Higher: FlexFinish offers flexible and convenient programs designed for working adults. Adult students can benefit greatly from the decision to return to school and complete a degree. Benefits of completing a college degree include:

  • Increased job promotion or career advancement opportunities.
  • Opportunity to demonstrate to family members, friends, and future generations the importance of receiving a quality education. When an adult student sets an example of graduating from college, they can set an example for family members who may be more likely to also attend college and receive the benefits of earning a college degree.

For some prospective adult students, the process of returning to college may seem intimidating and stressful. However, adults or working professionals who organize a personalized and feasible plan can make the transition back to school and successfully complete their college degree!