While the benefits of a four-year college degree are clear-cut, the path to achieving that goal is not always straightforward.
Despite the best intentions, some students are forced to cut their college plans short due to finances, family, career or other circumstances.
Tammy Williams’ college journey began 26 years ago before the demands of family, work and a lack of college options for working adults caused her to put her degree plans on hold.
In the years since, she had raised a family and gained a variety of professional experience in the banking, finance and retail industries. With two of her children now grown and her youngest a junior in high school, Williams has returned to college as a student in the College of Charleston Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) program.
This degree-completion program harmoniously blends liberal arts education and applied knowledge, making it a perfect option for adult students who are seeking skills with immediate application at work, at home and within their community.
Williams said not having a bachelor’s degree has limited her professional advancement, and now she’s doing something about it.
“A degree is vital to my future success and connectivity with other professionals,” Williams said. “I am thoroughly enjoying new experiences and building lasting relationships with students and faculty members.”
Kathryn Bunn, another student in the BPS program, has carved out a successful career in the commercial banking industry. In her role as assistant vice president for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bunn provides sales support to senior relationship management for healthcare clients.
With plans to start a family in the near future, Bunn decided it was time to complete her degree.
“Not only will it set a good example for my children but it also equips me with knowledge and skills to further advance my career,” Bunn said.
Godfrey Gibbison, dean of the College of Charleston North campus, said the BPS program is specifically geared toward adult students like Williams and Bunn.
“We are pleased that through this program adult students like Tammy and Kathryn are able to attain their educational goals by studying at a local, home-grown institution that has a national reputation for excellence,” Gibbison said. “We welcome all students who have earned college-level credits, whether at a technical college or at a four-year institution. We will help you craft a plan to turn those credits into a degree, and you will have a wonderful experience in the process.”
The BPS program offers three different areas of concentration: Organizational Leadership & Management, Applied Communication, and Information Systems.
In addition to the quality of the academic offerings, both Bunn and Williams said they were drawn to the BPS program because of the central location of the College’s North Campus and the convenient class times, which are scheduled on weekday evenings and during the daytime on weekends.
Because the program is designed for working professionals, Bunn said her professors have helped her work through scheduling conflicts between her job and classes.
Williams said she’s thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her professors and classmates.
In fact, the overall experience has been so positive for Bunn and Williams that both are considering pursuing graduate degrees after completing the BPS program.