Editor's note: This opinion-editorial was provided by Shane Broadway, interim director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. His comments address a new department initiative aimed at getting former college students to return to the classroom.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education has put out a call to Arkansans who have tried college, taken some time off, made other choices, perhaps actually failed a class, feel they’re too busy – too old, too broke – to go back to school.
We know there are a lot out there who fit that category – students who started college right out of high school but somehow life got in the way and that degree took a back seat to other responsibilities. Many people in Arkansas have some college but no degree. In the global economy in which we operate, a degree is becoming more and more necessary to compete for high-paying jobs. It’s been shown that a degree can equal up to a million dollars more in earnings over the course of a person’s lifetime. There’s no better time than the present to come back to school – you’re not getting any younger (wink, wink).
That’s the message of a new campaign we’ve produced – Come Back 2 Go Forward. It’s hitting the airwaves and all over the Internet. It’s a light-hearted look at what’s holding people back from going back to college. Our ads direct you to www.comeback2goforward.com, a one-stop website that helps determine the next course of action in going back to school and completing a degree. We know there are obstacles ranging from time constraints to finances, but there are ways to overcome those.
There are 33 public four-year universities and two-year colleges in the state, plus 11 private institutions, meaning there’s one within a 30-minute drive of almost all Arkansans. Don’t want to
make the drive? Can’t take time off work during the day? Need some flexibility? More courses and degrees than ever before are offered online through the state’s public colleges and universities.
At our website – www.ComeBack2GoForward.com – you’ll find resources specific to your situation, from Single Parent Scholarship information to Prior Learning Assessment – a way to get college credit for your work experience and other training. We’ve created this website to cater to what we call the non-traditional student, those who are a few years out of high school but have the potential to be successful in the college arena.
Here you’ll find out how to contact registrars at institutions across the state to gather your old transcripts. They’ll be useful in figuring out the best coursework to get you where you want to be. Maybe you were a psychology major a few years ago. That doesn’t mean you can’t end up with a business degree. Are you in a job now that doesn’t fulfill your career desires? Get a degree that will put you on track for a promotion.
Afraid to be back in the classroom? We have lots of research that shows non-traditional students are better students, more prepared and likely to graduate. They apply themselves, make the grades and take care of business.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. I encourage you to come back to school to go forward in your career – in life. You won’t be doing it just for you. Some of the sacrifices you’ll make in the way of time and finances will impact your family – your spouse, your kids – but you’ll all reap the benefits.
For more information, visit www.ComeBack2GoForward.com, and start your comeback.