Scholarships can be highly competitive, particularly when candidates present similarly impressive accomplishments. Whether applying for a merit-based or need-based scholarship, a personal essay is often the key to distinguishing yourself from a pool of candidates.
Financial need is a common concern for those pursuing a four-year degree, and is a frequent factor in student attrition. Many prospective non-traditional students cite financial instability as a barrier to completing their education, and report that financial aid availability was key in deciding to pursue a degree-completion program.
Unfortunately, as many non-traditional students discover while researching financial aid possibilities, many scholarship and grant opportunities are limited to traditionally-aged students - or students who will be entering college as first-timefreshmen. While this can be discouraging, prospective (and current) students will find that academic institutions, philanthropic organizations, corporations, and service organizations are increasingly recognizing the trend toward an older student population. Although many scholarships and grants are still bound to a traditional demographic, scholarships are now being offered that specifically target non-traditional students - as well as single parents and degree-completion candidates.
The rising cost of college tuition is a common concern among both traditional and non-traditional students, with financial need being cited as a primary barrier to initial enrollment, and a contributor to student attrition rates. For prospective non-traditional students, financial instability may be one of the obstacles that led them to postpone their education, and the availability of financial aid may play a significant role in whether they ultimately decide to pursue degree-completion.
When researching degree programs, "sticker shock" is not an uncommon experience. However, what prospective students may fail to realize is that the tuition “sticker price” is not an absolute: there are resources available to help ease the financial burden. Many schools will offer applicants a financial aid package, and students may also independently pursue other forms of financial assistance.
The college financial aid system can be quite complex - with its many types, terms, and eligibility requirements - and significant research may be required in order to fully understand what is available.
Below, we have provided a basic overview of the financial resources available to non-traditional students, many of which are administered through the College of Charleston Office of Financial Assistance and Veteran’s Affairs. We hope that this information will illuminate the possibilities for obtaining an affordable education.
For traditional students, the decision to attend college is almost a given - something that is instilled in them throughout their high school years - and one where parents, teachers, and counsellors are often available to assist with plans and resources. For adults returning to school, the path is much more self-driven, and requires a great deal of thought and research.
If you are considering returning to school, there are several steps that you should take before you even begin to research specific schools or apply to a given program. Proceeding through these steps will help you to formalize your goals, and develop a cohesive plan for realization.
The holiday season is upon us, and with it, a desire to select interesting and appropriate gifts for friends and family. This year, the College of Charleston Center for Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) is encouraging SPS blog readers to give the gift of continuing education, offering special holiday pricing on several non-credit courses.
The CCPE cotinually offers a selection of over 250 individual non-credit courses, including those which target highly sought-after professional skills, as well as courses designed for personal enrichment. The instructor-led courses are all held exclusively online, and allow students to move at their own pace - ideal for students with limited leisure time.
While all of the offered courses are economically priced, the CCPE is currently offering a holiday discount on five popular courses, extending their Black Friday Sale through December 15th.
Below we have highlighted some of the features and benefits of the non-credit online offerings:
On November 18th, the School of Professional Studies will be offering "Authentic Leadership + Personal Branding," the final session in the 2016 Next Level Leadership Series. Spaces are still available for this hands-on workshop; to register please visit our registration page, or see the Next Level Leadership website for additional information.
The term “personal branding” has been used to describe the process of marketing oneself and one’s career, in the same manner that one might promote a brand. Personal branding has become particularly important in the 21st century, as professional and social networking demands that individuals “package” themselves and build a cohesive and engaging online presence. “In today’s world, its important to develop your own brand: who you are, what you’re good at,” says leadership coach Amy Caffee. “There are opportunities
available, but you aren’t physically there; your impression will be based
on your digital presence.”
Photo of the Sottile Theater courtesy of College Today.
The following feature was previously published on our blog in March, 2016
A cramped auditorium. An audience of third-graders. A fifth grade play.
These are some of the images that come to mind when Dr. Alice Hamilton recalls one of the defining moments in her life. That day, in the midst of her fidgeting classmates, Hamilton sat rapt with attention as she watched the play unfold. Enchanted by her schoolmates’ performance, she had been initiated to the transformative power of the theatre.
“I was excruciatingly shy in front of crowds,” explains Hamilton, who has served as Director of the CofC Center for Continuing and Professional Education since 2013. “But as I watched those kids, I realized that I could do anything. I just needed to be portaying a character on stage." A passion for the dramatic arts soon developed, and Hamilton seized every opportunity to practice her developing craft. It was this desire that led 13 -year-old Hamilton to a University of New Brunswick workshop, where she would meet the woman who would shape the course her professional life.
The following article, originally published on our blog in Spring 2016, highlights the benefits of enrolling in a degree completion program. The School of Professional Studies is currently accepting applications for the Spring I (January 11) and Spring II (March 3) sessions, and will soon be accepting applications for Fall 2017.
If someone were looking to complete his or her bachelor’s degree, it seems only logical that he or she would seek out a program specifically designed to help with this process. Yet many prospective students are not even aware that such an option exists, or may question he authenticity of a non-traditional program.
Degree completion programs at non-profit schools provide the same level of difficulty, the same calibre of instructors, and the same access to resources as traditional degree programs. The difference lies in the scheduling of the courses, the cohort demographics - and in some cases - the method of delivery. As with traditional courses of study, degree completion programs can offer a credential in a singular discipline, such as psychology, or can be interdisciplinary, such as a Bachelor of Pofessional Studies.
The College of Charleston School of Professional Studies (SPS) offers a degree completion option in its Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) program: a course of study designed to help non-traditional students achieve a healthy school/life balance.
This past Spring, the CofC Board of Trustees a tuition reduction of approximately 20%, exclusively for students in the SPS’ Bachelor of Professional Studies program. This reduction was proposed in recognition of the unique circumstances presented by non-traditional students, and was instituted in Fall 2016.
Today, we are re-posting the information we shared about the tutition reduction earlier this year. Specific details about tuition rates and application deadlines for the upcoming Spring I and Spring II (2017) semesters may be found on our website.