You Are Never Too Old to Be A College Freshman

SHUlogoCrimsonbartosBy Tracey Sheetz Bartos, MBA

Every one of us has been to that place in our lives where we stop short and take a look around: at where we are, and where we’re headed. Sometimes we do it by choice. Other times our lives change without our permission and we’re forced to create a new future for ourselves.

Often, in making a major life change, we hope to improve our situation – to find a better job, to make more money, to spend more quality time with family. Many of us are also hoping to feel a greater sense of personal fulfillment in our day-to-day lives.

As a first step to creating a new future, many people choose to advance their education. (I know I did.) In southwestern Pennsylvania, we are lucky to have so many good educational options for adults. As the director of graduate and adult studies at Seton Hill University, in Greensburg, Pa., I work with adult students every day through our Adult Degree Program. (Since I am most familiar with the Adult Degree Program at Seton Hill, I will use it as an example. However, it is of vital importance that you find the situation that fits you the best. We believe in this so strongly at Seton Hill that we often make referrals to other institutions when we are working with a prospective student who is looking for an educational experience that is substantially different than the one we offer.)

Most adult students are busy balancing the demands of employment, family, and finances, and cannot take four years off to earn a degree. Adult students often wonder how they’ll fit in with fellow students of different ages, or they worry that they’ll be asked to use technology that they’re not familiar with.  Some adult students just want to get the degree in the quickest, easiest way possible and don’t realize how much of a positive impact the educational experience alone can have on their current quality of life, and their future career prospects. At Seton Hill, for instance, classes are small and instruction is personalized, allowing you to come to know your professors and classmates, and to make new friends who will become your colleagues and professional mentors in the years to come.

At Seton Hill, we offer Adult Degree Programs in business (including specializations in human resources, marketing, entrepreneurial studies and information management), accounting, human services and social work. Typically students take courses in sessions versus semesters. There are five sessions per year, and each session is eight weeks long. Classes meet every Saturday for eight weeks. Morning classes begin at 8:15 a.m. and conclude by 11:45 a.m. Afternoon classes begin at 12:30 p.m. and conclude by 4:00 p.m. There are two sessions per 16-week semester; therefore, Adult Degree Program students can complete 12 credits per academic semester. Students may earn additional credits by taking additional courses in the evening in the traditional 16-week semester format, if they choose to do so. At Seton Hill, all full-time Adult Degree Program students are supplied with an iPad2, and first-time students also receive a MacBook Pro laptop. You are trained in these technologies, and can keep them with you at all times, to aid in learning on the go.

Universities offering adult degree courses understand that adult students have different financial responsibilities, and needs, than traditional students. Most schools offer some sort of financial aid program that is tailored for adult students. At Seton Hill, Adult Degree Program students receive a substantially discounted per credit tuition rate, and we offer a preferred employer discount of 50%.  We also provide an interest-free monthly payment plan and accept qualified Trade Act students. (Contact the Department of Labor or visit to learn more about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program established under the Trade Act of 1974.)

If you’re an adult who is interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, don’t let anything hold you back. You are guaranteed a return on your investment – in your personal life, and in your career.

Tracey Bartos currently serves as the director of graduate and adult studies at Seton Hill University, where she also teaches a Principles of Instructional Technology course. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Edinboro University and her MBA at Seton Hill. Tracey is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Robert Morris University in the Instructional Management and Leadership Program. She is the proud single mother of two; her oldest is a senior at Seton Hill, majoring in biochemistry. An experienced entrepreneur, Tracey has owned a yoga studio, educational center and private school.


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