New Degree Completion Program Targets Adult Students

Ramapo College is now offering a degree completion program for adults looking to accelerate the process of obtaining or switching their undergraduate degree.

The program, following a national initiative set by President Barack Obama to increase the amount of undergraduate degrees held by citizens, is catered to ease the difficulties of obtaining a bachelor's degree from a legitimate brick and mortar institution when faced with the constraints of a busy life in the workforce or at home.

"The landscape of the workforce is evolving," said Mike DiBartolomeo, associate director of Adult and Graduate Admissions. "This program identifies the needs and constraints adults face when trying to better their careers through education."

Currently the only degree you can obtain in the accelerated program is a bachelor of arts in social science, which is relatable to such fields as paralegal studies, law enforcement and human resources. More degrees are expected to be fit for the program in the coming years.

Adults age 25 or older can apply for the program through the Adult Admissions Office if they have received at least 64 credits from another institution. A maximum of 80 credits can be transferred if they attended a traditional four-year institution. If they haven't received at least 64 credits, adults can still apply, but they may have to adhere to class schedules that aren't at night or online until the proper amount of credits are received to be eligible for the program's options.

"I think the program is a great idea, but I don't like the age restriction," said senior Megan Sherlock. "If an older student going back to school wants to get their degree at a faster pace, they should be able to."

On average, the program takes about two years to complete. It can be obtained even faster depending on if the student has earned more credits and if the student has more availability to attend classes.

The program is structured to include evening, online and even hybrid courses to ease scheduling conflicts. Students take two courses a semester, but one class at a time, which is intended to help the student's transition back to schooling easier. Each course in the fall and spring semesters is seven weeks, allowing the students to focus on one class at a time before moving onto another course. Classes in the winter and summer are specifically scheduled online but still follow the traditional academic calendar.

The first class of the program, called Life at a Crossroads, is a seminar course which is similar to the first-year seminar course that traditional freshman take at Ramapo their first semester. The class is designed to re-introduce adult students to the demands of schooling, among other things, while also focusing on consulting their previous achievements outside of the classroom that can be utilized towards their future studies and even for credit through the Prior Experience Learning program.

"Receiving credit for prior experiences could be very helpful for returning adult students, especially those in military life and those who may be uncomfortable or overwhelmed coming back to school because they feel too old," said junior Valerie Torrizo.

There will be an information session held at the college about the program on April 16. Any inquiries can be made to Mike DiBartolomeo at