The last time she had been in college, papers were written by hand. Several years later, she decided to give higher education another try — but gradually, by taking just one online course at the Campbellsville University Louisville campus. Unsure of what she needed to navigate the school’s online platform; she brought her entire desktop computer to her first meeting with the admissions department.
After finding her groove at the Louisville Education Center, she took another class, and then another, and is now well on her way to becoming yet another success story for a program that specializes in helping adult learners complete their college degrees.
“She was frustrated that she felt behind a little bit,” recalls student services coordinator, Kayla Sealey. “But she has got it now, and she is doing great in her classes and everything. In just a short period of time, she’s really transformed from where she was at the very beginning.”
It would have been understandable had she never gone back. Students halt their education for a number of reasons, from finances to being unprepared academically to a life event intervening. And they fail to return to college for a number of other reasons — like feeling like they’re too old, or being unfamiliar with the technology they’d need to use, or just lacking the confidence that they can do the work.
For a prospective returning student, those barriers to a college degree are very real. “When they come in and work with us, we can see right off the bat the struggles and the challenges they're having,” Sealey says. “And so, we try to instill that confidence and encourage them right there that they can do this.”
Academic guidance and student support
Although Campbellsville University in Louisville is comprised of students of all kinds, its forte is helping adults who have stopped their education regain their academic footing and complete their degree. The school tries to break down those barriers by offering programs that cater to adults with jobs and children, and help eliminate any intimidation factor. That means evening classes, hybrid schedules, classes of 15 students or fewer, help in setting up an email address, or even helping them find their best academic path.
“You’ll often hear us say, ‘find your calling for life change here at Campbellsville University-Louisville,’” says Candace Bensel, the school’s director of admissions and community engagement. “So many times, people just think it's too late. But we can really help them identify what their path is. We can do assessments to figure out, what is it that you are passionate about? What careers fit into those areas? And what transferrable skills do you already have from previous work experience that will help you jump start your new career? Let's show you how you can take those skills and put them to use in this new career and thrive.”
The academic guidance is backed by a student support infrastructure there to help with almost anything — from technological hurdles, to free tutoring and counseling, to tips for time management and study skills. “Every student is different so it depends on what that specific student needs,” Sealey says. “At Campbellsville, I feel we have a very personalized experience with each student. I feel like they do get that individual experience with us — not in just student services or with their professors, but with everyone.”
Everything is built around the adult learner, in an environment conducive not only to returning to school, but staying there. “Students typically take one or two classes over an eight-week span,” Bensel says, allowing them to focus intently on the subject matter they’re dealing with. “Most of our students are working full-time or have children they're taking care of or other obligations. Those students, we connect with them, and help them realize they’re not alone on this journey.”
Beginning with the end in mind
Administrators at the Louisville Education Center stress a message to new students at orientation: begin with the end in mind. Adult students who have returned to school still battle many of the same challenges that led them to halt their education the first time. To try and keep that from happening again, they’re urged to remember why they came back to school, and to always keep that reason foremost in their minds.
“We get a lot of students who come in and they tell us they're just overwhelmed. Their life is too busy right now,” Sealey says. “So, we work with them to create that self-discipline a college student needs. Because if you really think about everything, yeah, you’re going to get overwhelmed. And we can't help with everything. But we can help with reminding them, ‘What was your reason for being here?’ and ‘What's your end goal?’ We want to get to the point where the students don't just look forward to completing one course, but actually look forward to graduation.”
No crowded auditorium classes, no semesters overloaded with credit hours, no feeling lost on a mammoth campus. Campbellsville University in Louisville is structured for student success — something administrators and professors there witness every day.
“We work with a lot of students who flunked out of school when they went before, or they just weren't successful,” Bensel says. “Every eight weeks, those of us in admissions will get emails that say, ‘I got an A in my class!’ It’s people realizing, ‘I can do this. I can actually do this.’ And they just get so excited. That's part of this unique Campbellsville experience, all of us working as a team to make sure that each individual student is successful.”
Are you or a loved one interested in returning to college to complete a degree? Campbellsville University in Louisville offers nearly 40 areas of study and specializes in helping those returning to school after an absence. Contact them at (502) 753-0264, visit the campus at 2300 Greene Way, or visit their website at CULouisville.com.