Uncovering Solutions in the Face of Obstacles

Posted by Allison Leach on Apr 14, 2016 1:40:26 PM

Chanel Mariette learned about the College of Charleston degree completion program shortly after relocating to Charleston in 2014, and was excited at the prospect of finally earning her Bachelor’s degree.  Having suffered a range of setbacks over the years - including a brain aneurysm rupture - Mariette was hopeful that enrolling in the School of Professional Studies would be the key to achieving her long-held goal.

Unfortunately, she was soon faced with yet another obstacle.

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Topics: Student, Feature

Helping Non-Traditional Students Plan for Success

Posted by Allison Leach on Mar 24, 2016 4:41:54 PM

Enrolling in any degree program is a monumental decision, and is bound to generate some feelings of doubt and insecurity - regardless of the student’s age and experience.  However for students who have taken some time away from their studies, these doubts can be particularly nagging, as they wonder whether they are truly prepared to re-engage in higher education.  Whether it has been two years or twenty, non-traditional students often fear that they have lost some of the skills basic to higher education, and worry that they might not be able to keep up with the rigors of course requirements.
While these fears are certainly well-founded, careful planning and honest communication can ensure that students begin their new journey on the road to success.

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Topics: Student

Obtaining an Affordable Education

Posted by Allison Leach on Mar 17, 2016 3:38:34 PM

When entertaining the idea of completing their education, students have to consider many factors, such as work and family obligations, scheduling, and personal motivation.  However, it is often the financial commitment that presents the largest stumbling block.

When facing this obstacle, many students fail to realize 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 SPS students - many of which are administered through the College of Charleston Office of Financial Assistance and Veteran’s Affairs - in the hopes of jump-starting that financial aid research process, and helping our students to maximize their opportunities.

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Topics: Student

Writing a Winning Personal Essay

Posted by Allison Leach on Mar 10, 2016 3:47:37 PM


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.
Although your qualifications are clearly outlined in your application and resume, it is the personal essay that will allow the scholarship committee to get to know you as a person: your experiences, your values, and your motivation.

The SPS blog recently highlighted a variety of scholarship opportunities available to students in the Bachelor of Professional Studies Program - most of which require submission of a personal essay.  We hope that current and prospective students, who are considering applying for these awards, will benefit from the following tips:

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Topics: Student

Scholarship Opportunities for Non-Traditional Students

Posted by Allison Leach on Mar 1, 2016 12:54:44 PM


Financial need is a common concern among those pursuing four-year degrees, and is frequently a factor in student attrition.  Many prospective non-traditional students cite financial instability as a barrier to competing their education, and report that financial aid availability played a significant role in their decision to pursue a degree-completion program.


As a partner on the academic journey, the CofC School of Professional Studies is dedicated to providing beneficial resources, and helping students to eliminate obstacles.  To this end, the school currently offers two exclusive scholarship opportunities for student enrolled in SPS credit programs, and strives to make students aware of other awards available to non-traditional students.

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Topics: Student, News

Race to the Finish Line

Posted by Allison Leach on Feb 23, 2016 10:47:13 AM

When a goal is within reach, it is often in our nature to find the quickest path to realization.  For Linda Meehan, the decision to enroll in the College of Charleston degree-completion program placed a long deferred goal in her sights, and she did not intend on taking her time.

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Topics: Student, Feature

A Guide to U.S. Classroom Culture

Posted by Allison Leach on Feb 18, 2016 3:12:18 PM

teaching.jpg Students who come to the United States to study, whether in English-language programs or degree-conferring programs, often find that the American education system differs considerably from that of their home country.  These students, who are already facing myriad cultural differences, may experience difficulty adjusting to this new system, and require additional resources and support in order to succeed.

To assist our English Language Institute students with their adjustment to the College of Charleston, we have compiled a basic guide to U.S. classroom culture, and the values that shape the American education system.

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Topics: Student

Forging a Path in Sustainable Agriculture

Posted by Allison Leach on Feb 16, 2016 2:26:09 PM

Growing up surrounded by gardeners, Laura Mewbourn enjoyed the fruits of her family’s agricultural labors, and tended to her own tiny plot.  While Mewbourn longed for an outdoor lifestyle, she chose to stray from her gardening roots,  pursuing a career in higher education.

Despite her lack of active involvement in farming, Mewbourn was committed to supporting local producers, a passion fueled by an awareness of international farming practices.  While contemplating what more she could do to give back to her community, Mewbourn fortuitously learned of the Growing New Farmers program, and realized that she had found a path back to her beloved outdoors.

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Topics: Student, News, Courses

Avoiding the 4 Skill-Gaps Common to First Time Managers

Posted by Allison Leach on Feb 12, 2016 1:54:58 PM


According to research compiled by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), fifty-percent of managers are regarded as “ineffective” in their roles: a failure that may be attributed to a lack of support early in their leadership careers.

In considering how to better develop emerging leaders, the CCL has identified four competencies where first-time managers often demonstrate deficits: communication; influence; leading team achievement; and coaching and developing others.

With these competencies in mind, we have gathered tips as to how first time managers can improve their performance and avoid common skill-gaps.

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Topics: Student, Courses

Writing an Effective Cover Letter: The Art of Tailoring

Posted by Allison Leach on Feb 4, 2016 6:48:28 PM

tailor \ˈtā-lər\ : to make or change (something) so that it meets a special need or purpose.


Job postings are basically wish lists: employers will describe their ideal candidate, but are not necessarily expecting that most applicants will be able to check every box.

While a well-crafted resume is certainly an effective means of communicating your qualifications, a tailored cover letter that will allow you to show just how closely you align with the employer’s wishes.
Additionally, you can use a cover letter to clear up any issues that you feel might stand in your way - be it changing careers, lack of qualifications, or a gap in employment.

Tailoring a cover letter can often mean the difference between standing out, and being overlooked.
It is certainly an art, and may take some time to refine, but the following principles should set you on the right path:

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Topics: Student

About the SPS

The School of Professional Studies is your partner on the journey toward a more fulfilling future. We are accessible, flexible, creative and tenacious. We work hard to provide access to the education you need to build a brighter future for yourself and in turn, for our community.

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