Linfield Named One of Nation’s Top 200 Schools by Forbes

In a recent release by Forbes, Linfield College was named one of the nation’s “Top Colleges.” With a small student-to-faculty ratio, 12:1, Linfield College is able to combine a caring, dedicated atmosphere with quality teaching for high student satisfaction.

In addition to focused classroom attention, whether on campus or online with Linfield’s Adult Degree Program, this small Oregon college is one of the country’s top producers of Fulbright scholars. Linfield College is also one of only 16 schools in the nation to be associated with the prestigious Kemper Scholarship Program. With such academic success, it should be no surprise that Linfield’s graduates have a high four-year graduation rate, enjoy success after graduation, and have a smaller debt load.

Linfield, which attracts students from 29 states and 24 countries, is well known for its outstanding liberal arts and sciences curriculum, as well as its professional programs. In addition to receiving the recognition by Forbes, Linfield College has been named one of the top five liberal arts schools in Oregon and Washington by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

Linfield College offers 47 majors and enrolls more than 2,600 students through three programs: a residential liberal arts and sciences program on the McMinnville campus, nursing and health science programs in Portland, and the Adult Degree Program, which supports students at eight Oregon sites and serves a virtual learning community of adult students plugged in around the globe. Linfield College, which was established in 1858, helped pioneer higher education in the Pacific Northwest.

To learn more about Linfield College, and our Adult Degree Program, where you can start working toward your online degree today, contact us to request information.

How to Approach Your Employer about Going Back to School

employee approaching employer about tuition reimbursementGoing back to school can always entail some challenges along the way and approaching your employer to gain support  for your goals to achieve higher education is a good idea. If you have not checked already, reference your employee handbook to see if you may be eligible for tuition assistance. Normally you are more likely to find tuition reimbursement programs in larger companies, but it never hurts to ask if it could be an option at a smaller company.

If your education program is related to your job, your employer may reimburse you for all or part of your tuition, which demonstrates a shared commitment and makes your education goals even more attainable. Many companies offer an employer tuition reimbursement plan while others offer a scholarship program. Some employers have a relevancy clause for the classes that they will pay for, as they pertain to your employment. A relevancy clause will normally state that if the program you’re entering doesn’t benefit the company in some way, you will not get reimbursed.  Additionally, some companies have a requirement that an employee must continue to work for the organization for a certain amount of time or return the funds they put towards your education.  However, that is usually a very minimal commitment compared to the increased knowledge and skills achieved by earning a college degree.

Many employers look highly upon furthering your college education because it shows a willingness to grow and succeed, not only in life, but in the workplace. By going back to school, you are becoming a more qualified individual in the workforce and you also are becoming a more valuable employee in the workplace.  Ms. Elaine Fletcher, SPHR and Human Resources Director for Pacific Natural Foods, states that the employees who take advantage of their tuition reimbursement program “come to work more engaged, have higher interest levels and often have created some valuable network contacts in their classes.”  She goes on to say that the employees who take classes often get ideas from their classmates that they bring to Pacific Natural Foods and make a valuable contribution.

Mr. Vaughn Schmall, a collection manager for Wells Fargo, also has had positive experiences with employees who work while attending college.  He states, “By being a student and an employee, they can plan their own self development and long term careers.  Here at Wells Fargo, we offer our team members tuition reimbursement.  We also post all our job openings internally before we advertise them outside the company.  Our team members can see what kind of jobs need what level of education and plan their career path accordingly.”  Mr. Schmall observes, “Employees who are also students often bring an updated skill set into their current workplace and are more engaged.”  Additionally, he cites reduced employee turnover as a benefit that employers receive by offering their workers tuition assistance.

If you share with your current employer what you will be able to contribute to the organization through gaining greater knowledge and skills, plus the positive experiences that other companies have had, such as Pacific Natural Foods and Wells Fargo, this may be an example of how your current employer could also benefit from your returning to school to participate in college classes.

No matter what the industry, employers are always pleased to see employees making a concerted effort to learn new things to contribute to the business. Need more details? Learn more about employer tuition assistance from FinAid.org.

If it has been a number of years since you were  in college, the ability to manage your schedule will be of the utmost importance. If you already have a school picked out, you may only have certain options to choose from for class hours and locations. But if you have not chosen a school, make sure to look for flexibility such as online courses, evening classes, or weekend classes. You may want to talk to your co-workers about their experiences if they are in college or have recently finished a higher education program.  Get recommendations from others who have attended adult degree programs about what their experiences were.  When choosing a school that you feel is geared towards the working adult you can share with your employer that the college you have chosen has programs that are geared to working adults and understands the demands of working a full time job while taking classes.

Expectations of an Adult Degree Program

steven facker, adult degree graduateWe interviewed Steven Facker, Class Speaker at Linfield College’s Spring Commencement, about his expectations as he began a Management Degree through Linfield’s Adult Degree Program. Below, Steven shares his reflections on his expectations before he completed the program and now after graduating this Spring.

What were your expectations when you decided to complete your Management degree at Linfield?

I expected to be challenged with classes on subjects that I had very little exposure to, like management itself, financial stuff, statistics, and the topics like that.  My business acumen was relatively low before attending Linfield.  I also expected to have quite a bit of homework.

Were these expectations met? If so, how were they met?  If not, what was different from what you thought it would be?

Yes, my challenging expectations were definitely met.  I found myself spending many hours reading and re-reading textbooks, doing additional research, and asking questions.  As for homework…wow.  I knew I would have homework, but it sure seemed to be many hours of homework just about every week.  There were a handful of classes that didn’t have a metric ton of homework.  Those classes were definitely in the minority.

steven facker adult degree studentHave you changed in any way as a result of your experience of completing your degree at Linfield?

Organizing time comes much easier now.  I’ve learned to appreciate the bits of time here and there doing things fun, intertwined with the less desirable things, like work and cleaning.  =)

I also feel like I can contribute more intelligently to conversations with friends, and especially colleagues at work.  Knowing that I can complete a relatively long-term goal, like this degree, helps me to realize that perhaps I can do that with other tough goals.  The opportunity to publicly speak at the commencement, and following through with that opportunity, has contributed to my overall confidence level.

I don’t necessarily feel like having the degree will automatically open doors, of course.  I look at my degree as an additional tool that can help me, when/if I so choose.  Additionally, I’ve learned to critically assess and think through my decisions with more depth for the long term.  For example, when I’m researching an employee’s benefit issue at work, I don’t look just at the surface issues.  I also examine the reasoning behind it and advocate to my superiors for the employee, so that he/she can get his/her issue resolved with less stress and more satisfaction.

Overall, I feel grateful, not as much for the knowledge, but for the application of critical thinking towards life in general.  Yes, I still go with the flow, at times.  But now I also challenge the flow and strive towards more efficiency and enjoyment at home and work.