New Tricks

Adults have a lot to learn, too

By Ashley Vandewart

Picture the typical college student.

Do you envision a bubbly 20-year-old wearing low-cut jeans and a school-logo sweatshirt, blond ponytail bobbing above her book sack?

You may want to revise that image. These days, not all female students look like Britney Spears, and, more importantly, not all are under 25.

With so many colleges and universities close at hand, Triangle women are discovering that it really is never too late to learn, or even to earn a degree.

Whether you want to switch careers, make yourself a better candidate for promotion, get a plaque to hang on your wall or just expand your horizons, there are plenty of reasons to dust off your backpack and get ready to hit the books.

From night classes that jibe with your work schedule to programs for professional certifications, the following institutions have entire departments dedicated to adult needs:

Central Carolina Community College

Description: Serving Chatham, Lee and Harnett counties, Central Carolina enrolls 20,000 students annually in curriculum and continuing-education programs at five campuses and instructional centers.

Department: Continuing Education

Locations: Pittsboro, Sanford, Siler City, Dunn, Lillington

Programs: The college offers high-school programs for adults, occupational courses, community-service courses, emergency-services training, small-business workshops, and human-resources development as well as new/expanding industry and focused industrial training.

Requirements: There are no requirements to enroll as a continuing-education student.

Deadline: Application and enrollment deadlines vary by class; call for details.

Contact Information: (919) 775-5401; www.cccc.edu

Duke University

Description: Situated on an 1,800-acre campus, Duke draws more than 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students each semester.

Department: Continuing Studies

Location: Durham

Programs: The university offers academic-credit programs, professional and business services and non-credit certificate programs.

Requirements: In order to enroll, students must live within an hour’s commute of the campus.

Deadline: Prospective continuing studies students must apply for the fall 2004 semester by Aug. 1.

Notes: “A very small number of people enter Duke Continuing Studies wishing to finish an undergraduate degree,” says Dr. Polly Gilbert, director of Duke University’s Continuing Studies.

“They usually want to take one or two courses to prepare for graduate school, or take a course to help them on their jobs. Others like to audit just because they like to learn but don’t want to be under the pressure of a grade.”

Contact Information: (919) 684-6259; www.learnmore.duke.edu/

Durham Technical Community College

Description: This community college provides a university-transfer program and more than 55 degree options to 20,000 students.

Department: Continuing Education

Location: Durham

Programs: Durham Tech offers basic-skills courses for adults. These classes include English as a second language and adult high-school courses. Continuing education courses also are offered to enrich students who wish to continue learning.

Requirements: Courses are open to high-school graduates and adults at least 18 years old.

Deadline: Prospective students can enroll any time before the selected course begins.

Contact Information: (919) 686-3300; www.durhamtech.org/html/corporate/continuing.htm

Meredith College

Description: The largest women’s college in the Southeast, Meredith offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

Department: Community Outreach

Location: Raleigh

Programs: The college offers non-credit seminars, workshops, courses and camps. The Short Course series features courses consisting of one to 53 classes. Some include a meal or a round-table discussion. The professional-studies program provides training for those in certain careers, such as teaching, marketing, human resources and nursing. These courses range from half-day workshops to intensive programs. Meredith also allows courses to be audited.

Requirements: All Community-Outreach programs are open to the public. However, some have target audiences. Instructor approval is required to audit a course.

Credit: Community Outreach students do not receive credit toward a degree, but they may earn continuing- education credits.

Deadline: Enrollment deadlines depend on the course. Call for information.

Notes: “We have a brand-new series that we’re really excited about,” says Paula O’Briant, director of Community Outreach at Meredith College. “It’s a dinner seminar for mothers/guardians and teenage daughters.”

Courses include “Can You Hear What I Hear: Listening Skills 101,” by Dr. Carla Ross; “Reflections of Self Esteem,” by Dr. Cynthia Edwards; and “Diet, Health, Fitness and Self Image,” by Dr. Chris Eschbach.

Contact Information: (919) 760-8353; www.meredith.edu/outreach/default.htm

Mount Olive College

Description: With five North Carolina locations, the private, liberal-arts college offers programs in a regular class format as well as accelerated, modular formats designed for working adults.

Department: Adult Education

Location: Research Triangle Park

Programs: The college’s Heritage Program is a fast-track, general-education curriculum for adults who are beginning college. There also are degree programs, such as Management and Organizational Development, Criminal Justice Administration, Modular Religion and Early Childhood Education, for students who have completed about two years of college.

Requirements: Call for special requirements.

Deadline: Registration is continuous. Call to find out when classes begin.

Notes: Evening classes are held one night or Saturday per week, in four-hour sessions, to accommodate adult students.

Contact Information: (919) 941-2970; www.mountolivecollege.edu

North Carolina Central University

Description: The nation’s first public liberal-arts institution for African Americans, the university maintains a strong liberal-arts tradition.

Department: Continuing Education

Location: Durham

Programs: The university offers non-credit continuing education workshops, conferences and courses. Topics include computers, foreign languages and nutrition.
“We can customize courses if there is a group that needs particular workshops or classes,” says Dr. Beverly W. Jones, dean of University College. “We can develop and bring to you the courses you need for your clients and employees.”

Requirements: None

Deadline: Call (919) 530-6324 for information on specific courses. Many classes begin in September.

Notes: “We are very interested in the experience that students bring to the classroom; it really livens up the class and makes it close to real life for individuals to learn,” says Jones.

Contact Information: (919) 530-6100; www.nccu.edu/univcoll/uc/coned.html

North Carolina State University

Description: More than 28,000 students attend the university, which offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

Departments: McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education; Lifelong Education Center

Location: Raleigh

Programs: The Lifelong Education program offers day and evening classes to adults. Students can gain admission to the university or simply update professional skills. NCSU also offers distance-education courses to adults via the Internet, cable TV and videocassettes.

Requirements: Enrolling students must have a high-school diploma or GED. They cannot have been suspended from any college or university in the last three years or currently be classified as an NCSU degree candidate. To receive credit toward a degree, a Lifelong Education student must apply for and receive admission to the university.

Deadline: Prospective students must apply for the fall 2004 semester by Aug. 24.

Contact Information: (919) 515-2265; www.ncsu.edu/acp/

North Carolina Wesleyan College

Description: With 800 traditional students and another 1,000 enrolled in evening programs, the college is a liberal-arts institution with a number of professional programs and degree-completion opportunities for working adults.

Department: Adult Degree Program

Locations: Rocky Mount, Morrisville, Goldsboro

Program: The adult-degree curriculum appeals to members of the workforce interested in career advancement or life enrichment. Classes are open to those who have never attended college or who have interrupted their education and would like to go back to school.

The Advantage Program is an accelerated degree-completion program offering the chance to earn Bachelor of Arts or Science degrees in such majors as business administration, justice studies, accounting and computer information systems.

Requirements: Potential students must have a high-school diploma or GED, be at least 22 years old (or have at least three years of full-time work experience) and complete a writing assessment. They may not be on probation or suspension from any other college or university.

Deadline: The application process is open, and students can begin classes every eight weeks.

Contact Information: (252) 985-5100; www.ncwc.edu

Shaw University

Description: Shaw offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees to 2,600 predominantly African-American students.

Department: Center for Alternative Programs of Education (CAPE)

Locations: Durham, Raleigh, Rocky Mount

Program: This external degree program is designed to meet the needs of working adults through learning formats such as independent study, internships, seminars, life experiences and regular classes offered during the day, evening and weekends. Bachelor of Arts or Science degrees are available in business management, public administration, social science, criminal justice, religion and philosophy as well as liberal studies.

Requirements: Prospective CAPE students should have completed two years of college study or spent three years in the work world.

Deadlines: While the deadline for the fall semester has passed, the deadline for the spring semester is Nov. 30.

Contact Information: Cassandra Brown (919) 682-9493 (Durham), Nnamdi Onuorah (919) 546-8340 (Raleigh) and Marcellina Offoha (252) 442-8008 (Rocky Mount); www.shawu.edu/a_admission_cape.htm#4

St. Augustine’s College

Description: This historically African-American college features courses in areas such as business, teacher education and theater.

Department: Gateway Adult Degree Completion Program

Location: Raleigh

Program: With its accelerated curriculum, the Gateway Adult Degree Completion Program allows employed students to get a Bachelor of Science in three semesters. The classes focus on organizational management, with such topics as human-resource administration, managerial accounting and finance as well as methods of statistical research and analysis.

Requirements: Adult learners must be age 22 or older and have progressive work experience. Applicants also must provide an on-site writing sample and two recommendations.

Deadline: Students must apply one week before registration day, which is Aug. 16 for the fall semester.

Contact Information: (919) 516-4572; www.st-aug.edu/students/gateway.htm

Strayer University

Description: One of 29 Strayer campuses in the nation, the local university offers education programs through on-campus and online classes.

Locations: Cary, Raleigh

Programs: Strayer University provides credit-granting higher-education programs to working adults. Topics include accounting, business, information technology and general studies.

Requirements: Prospective undergraduate-studies students must have a high-school diploma or GED.

Deadline: Students can register up to a week after classes start.

Contact Info: (919) 466-1150 (Cary), (919) 878-9900 (North Raleigh); www.strayer.edu

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Description: More than 24,000 students attend the university, which offers graduate and undergraduate programs.

Department: Center for Continuing Education

Location: Chapel Hill

Programs: The University offers credit-granting courses through the continuing-studies program, which allows students to update professional knowledge, earn a degree, obtain a post-baccalaureate teacher’s certification or complete undergraduate prerequisites for graduate school.

This curriculum also provides a challenging education to high-school students who have exceeded the offerings of their institutions.
The enrichment program, another division of adult-education courses, is not credit-granting.

Requirements: Admission to UNC-Chapel Hill is required in order to enroll in the continuing-studies department. Prospective students must apply as new undergraduates, new post-baccalaureate or readmission students. Previous college experience is not required.

Admission is not required to enroll in enrichment or distance-education courses, unless the student is working toward a degree.

Deadlines: The fall-semester application deadline for post-baccalaureate and undergraduate students has passed, but call for the spring-semester deadline. The deadline for readmitted students is Aug. 15.

Students interested in the Carolina Courses Online program should send in applications by Aug. 23.

Application deadlines for prospective students in the enrichment program vary, and self-paced, online courses can be joined at any time.

Notes: Graduate and undergraduate courses are offered during the day, and a core curriculum of undergraduate courses are offered at night.

“We are happy that we can accommodate people whose situations are such that they cannot be full-time students,” says June Blackwelder, associate director of Publications and Promotions.

Contact Information: 800-862-5669 or (919) 962-1134; www.fridaycenter.unc.edu


Wake Technical Community College

Description: Wake Tech offers degree, diploma and certificate programs as well as continuing-education courses and a college-transfer program.

Department: Continuing Education

Location: Raleigh

Programs: The continuing-education program consists of five divisions specializing in evening classes, basic skills, and occupational education as well as business and industry.

Requirements: Continuing education courses are open to any prospective student with proper prerequisites.

Deadline: The deadline for each course depends on its popularity. Registration closes when the course is full.

Notes: “We try to assess what the public wants,” notes Gerald Mitchell, vice president of Continuing Education.

“We try to determine what there is a need for in the workforce. We primarily look toward the adult learner.”

Contact Information: (919) 662-3252; www.wake.tec.nc.us/conted/index.html