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News and Resources for Adults Returning to College

In This Issue

  • Ask the Experts: Accreditation Issues
  • Feature Article: Writing the In-Class Essay
  • The Weekly Journal: Student Loan Consolidation Rules May Change
  • Online Discussion Forums: College State Residency Confusion
  • New Cool Tool: Web Reading Made Easy
Ask the Experts: Accreditation Issues
Featured Expert: E. Faith Ivery, Ed.D.

E. Faith Ivery, Ed.D.Question: I am about to receive my Associates of Applied Science in Computer Aided Drafting, and I was looking into going to a state university for my bachelor's degree, but they will not accept my associate's degree. I was informed that they cannot accept credits from my school because they do not accept ACICS accreditation. I am told I would have to start all over again, and re-take all my gen-ed classes. Is there anything I can do or am I just out of luck? I know of no schools in my state that teach architecture that accept this type of accreditation (nationally recognized.) Please, if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. - Mark

Answer: Mark - accreditation! I can’t tell you how many students have contacted my company – many in tears – with the same problem. I have called several proprietary schools and pretended to be a potential student. I ask about transfering credit, and accreditation. I find that most representatives of “nationally accredited” schools don't understand the difference between accrediting bureaus, ACICS and regional accreditation. So, often students enroll in these schools with little or no understanding of the differences. They pay lots of money, graduate, and then find out about “accreditation”.

The differences in accreditation has to do with the level of content, curriculum and agency of the accreditor. (See the Accreditation FAQ for more information.) The term “national” accreditation does not define a better or worse accreditation than “regional” accreditation. They are just different. It is important for the consumer to understand the differences before selecting a school. These proprietary schools are more “entry-level” in instruction, and more “skill” oriented than theory-based. They tend to quickly prepare students for employment. Their degrees are meant to be for more terminal learning. Years ago they were called vocational schools (or technical schools), and they issued diplomas or certificates. I have known of students who retained an attorney for recovery of tuition, because they were not properly advised about the accreditation.

Drafting and architecture are two very different careers. Regionally accredited colleges and universities consider architecture to be a professional school within the institution. Most often the admission requirements are higher than the general departments within the college or university. There are a few regionally accredited colleges and universities which accept direct credit from ACICS schools: the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, Capella University – but they do not offer architecture degrees. Some regionally accredited colleges/universities may allow you to validate equivalent learning through a portfolio process, and grant credit towards their bachelor degree. I know of no architecture program to do this. I would suggest taking as many CLEP exams as you can to “replace” your general education learning with college credit – ask the counselor at the regional college/university which exams to take. Other than that, you basically will need to start over at a regionally accredited college/university. You may want to use your learning to start a job with a company that has tuition assistance benefits to pay for your bachelor degree. My recommendation is to always earn an associate degree at a regionally accredited community college if you are planning to continue your education for a bachelor degree. Many of their courses are
accelerated, and cost much less than proprietary schools. Proper advising can assure you take courses which can directly be transferred to a 4-year program to earn the bachelor degree. - Faith

More Ask the Experts.

Feature Article: Writing the In-Class Essay Exam
by Emily Schiller

Mandy Borgmeier The first in-class essay exam I took when I returned to college was a disaster. I had done all the reading, TWICE; thought extensively about the material; and filled pages with notes from my own responses as well as from class. I couldn’t have been more prepared to discuss the novels we’d read. But I wasn’t at all prepared to write essays with time limits and no chance to revise. So what did I do? I took the questions as jumping-off points and wrote everything I could think of, had thought of, or might even consider. Every once in awhile I’d indent, so they at least would resemble essays with real paragraphs. There was no logic to anything I did; I just spewed. Not good. The professor commented (kindly, gently) that my ideas were superb and my insights quite inspired. However, not only were my answers not essays, they never really responded directly to the questions. Aargh!

After that, I learned to contain and direct my enthusiasms. Essay exams are not a license to babble. They require reflection and control. Here are some steps I created to help myself and, later on, to help my students.

1) First, read the question carefully. Pick out the salient points. What is the topic? A book, an event, an idea? What is the focus? A character? A problem? What are you being asked to do with this? Discuss? Contrast? Agree/Disagree?

2) Next, make a few very quick notes in answer to the question or in response to the topic.

3) Now stop and take a breath. Then read over your ideas and ask yourself which ones directly address the question or essay prompt. Throw out whatever
is irrelevant to the task at hand no matter how much you love it. Really!

Read the Full Article.

More Features.

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Visit the NYU Web site.

The Weekly Journal
Student Loan Consolidation Rules May Change

Congress is looking at changing a the student loan consolidation program that enables students to make one monthly payment toward all their educational loans at a fixed interest rate. If the change is implemented, students would have to pay a variable interest rate and may end up paying nearly double the interest. The considered change would not impact students who have already consolidated their loans. Source: The Daily Trojan. Read the full article.

Special Reports: Low Income Adults in Profile
This special report from the American Council on Education and the Lumina Foundation presents key information on low-income adult college students in the United States. Included are background characteristics, academic profiles, and special challenges faced by low-income adult students, contrasting their situations with those of traditional students and other adults. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing.

More from the Weekly Journal.

Did You Know?

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2004-05 Occupational Outlook Handbook, more than half of the 20 fastest growing occupations require at least some college education.

Online Discussion Forums

Featured Resource:
Scholarships for Re-entry Students

Although many adult or "nontraditional" students hear about help to go back to school, continue their education, or train for a new career, they are often unaware where to find it or what programs they may be eligible for. This special report provides information on scholarships, grants, and private organizations and associations that aid adults returning to college or entering vocational programs. Sources of aid include awards especially for re-entry students, women, single parents, and adults re-entering the work force, including money from federal, state, and private organizational and academic programs.

Available for immediate download.

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