How Blue Ridge Supports Adult Learners
Kirsten H. Bunch
Continuing your education as an adult learner can open many doors for you. Whether your goal is to increase your marketable skills to be considered for a promotion or to make a career change, earning additional degrees 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 the great credentials that are needed in our community’s workforce today.
Despite the benefits of furthering your education, there are unique challenges that adult learners may face. We recognize that adult learners come to us with a “full plate”. Work, family, financial and household obligations – the list is endless. Adult learners have many competing priorities that take their time. It can be a real juggling act to add college into the mix.
We understand that while receiving a degree is important, flexibility is the key to making this possible. We have flexible class schedules with classes offered daytime, evening, and online. We also have degrees that can be completed in just one month and associate degrees that can be completed in two years.
Adult learners can also take advantage of campus resources to support them throughout their educational journey, including success coaches, free tutoring support, counseling services, and financial aid, to name a few- one.
Success coaches for adult learners
Knowing that adults come to us with an already full plate, we assign success coaches to our students aged 25 and over to provide them with complete support. Through a grant to Blue Ridge Community College through the Dogwood Health Trust, we have hired two full-time success coaches to support our students.
A success coach is a support person who helps students overcome challenges using campus and community support. The Success Coach serves as a go-to person for students who encounter obstacles or challenges, or if they have a question and don’t know who to ask. They also offer coaching on topics such as study strategies, time management, and self-awareness.
Education of adult learners benefits the whole community
Educating adult learners in our community helps nurture the local workforce. Filling vacancies allows our businesses and industries to stay staffed and thrive, making our community a more vibrant, enjoyable, and safer place to live.
For more information about programs offered at Blue Ridge Community College and enrollment information, please visit our website at www.blueridge.edu or call 828-694-1800.
Kirsten H. Bunch is Vice President of Student Services at Blue Ridge Community College.