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Dalton State Helps Adult Learners Return to College and Graduate

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire over the next few years, jobs that require college degrees will be opening up.

“By 2020, 60 percent of all jobs will require some form of post-secondary, professional education,” said Dr. Andy Meyer, interim vice president of academic affairs.

But there aren’t enough traditional age students to fill that need, he said. That’s why it’s important for adults to go back and complete their degree.

Dalton State makes it easier for adults with full time jobs and family obligations to start school or return and finish the degree started years ago, Meyer said. There are four bachelor degree programs perfectly suited for people in that situation. Two are completed online, organizational leadership and criminal justice. Two offer flexible schedules on campus, interdisciplinary studies and applied science in technology management.

In addition, Dalton State provides an easy way for adult learners to finish all that’s needed to become a student through its Quick Admit Day. Adults wanting to register can bring all their registration requirements to campus, do their required testing, go through advisement, and be registered for classes all in one day instead of making several trips to campus, said Veronica Summers, Dalton State’s adult learning specialist.

This semester’s Quick Admit Day is April 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the main campus. It is April 15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dalton State’s Gilmer Center in Ellijay.

Those wanting to take advantage of the Quick Admit Day should have high school transcripts, any college transcripts they have, their driver’s license or valid ID, a $30 application fee, and the application.

“They’ll have a schedule in their hands when they leave,” Summers said. “This should save them time and frustration with their busy schedules. We can even help them fill out their application for financial aid. My favorite part is shaking their hand and saying ‘Welcome to Dalton State.’”

Summers understands what adults returning to college face, as she is also an adult learner completing her online degree in organizational leadership.

“If you work full time and have a family, organizational leadership works perfectly,” she said.

The degree is designed to train people in different fields for a management position. For example, someone with several business courses or who has been in the business field for several years, could use this degree to transition into a management position.

There are several concentrations including health care administration and criminal justice. Someone who may want a career in a health care field but doesn’t want to be a nurse could major in organizational leadership with a concentration in health care administration, Meyer said.

“This is also ideal for a registered nurse who wants to move into a management position,” he said. “The degree covers areas such as human resources. When we think of the challenges some of our students face with jobs and family commitments, we think this is an ideal degree because they can work on it at their own convenience.”

Similarly, Dalton State offers an online criminal justice degree that closely follows the curriculum of the criminal justice degree offered on site. It is a new online degree being offered for the first time.

“I think it’s going to be big with the people currently employed in law enforcement,” said Meyer. “It should help them advance in their career.”

In addition, law enforcement officials who have been on the job for several years may qualify for course credit because of their training received on the job.

The degree in interdisciplinary studies is an onsite, flexible degree. It can help those who may have course credit in several different areas obtain their degree more quickly. This degree is more suited for adults who prefer to learn in person rather than online.

The bachelor of applied science in technology management is designed for people who have earned an associate of applied science degree. Those credits can be applied to this degree and the course work then centers on management.

“We’re trying to meet the workforce demand,” Summers said. “We hope people will come back and complete their degree. I’m here for them their entire college career. If they ever need any help or any kind of direction, I’ll be here to help them.”

For questions about the Quick Admit Day or any of the adult learner programs Dalton State offers, contact Summers at adultlearner@daltonstate.edu or (706) 712-8202.