For students like Luis Figueroa-Mota, who works full-time to support a family, earning a bachelor’s degree is not only important to him but possible thanks to Linfield’s Adult Degree Program online.
Rising in popularity for students in similar situations to Figueroa’s, Linfield’s online program experienced a 12 percent increase in enrollment this fall.
One reason Linfield’s program is so popular is because the school offers the “real” Linfield degree, whether students take courses on-campus or online. There is no distinction between the two methods of education or quality of the degree, said Janet Gifford, associate director of the Adult Degree Program.
In fact, one out of four Linfield students completes their education through the Adult Degree Program, Gifford added.
“The benefits of online learning are up to the individual student to evaluate for themselves. In my case, online classes are maybe even better because I am able to do the research and the learning without distraction,” Figueroa said via email.
Figueroa is majoring in marketing, the newest major in the Adult Degree Program.
The program offers bachelor’s degrees in management, marketing, accounting, nursing, international business, and social and behavioral sciences. It also offers two post-baccalaureate certificates in accounting and human resource management.
Gifford said that enrollment increases are taking place in the majors that are related to family-wage jobs in those fields.
The increase in online learning is becoming a national trend.
“Adults know they need a college degree in order to get ahead,” Gifford said. “Students come into the program already knowing what they want to major in. They are more career-focused.”
The average age for students going through the Adult Degree Program is 38. The majority of these students already have jobs and family obligations, Gifford said.
Apart from offering the same quality of degrees to online students, Linfield also offers each student his or her own academic adviser. This adviser helps in mapping out the best approach in pursuing a degree, Gifford said.
“Linfield has taken the best of what it is known for and provides the same services to students online,” Gifford said. “Advisers take the time and attention to support students.”
Students also have access to e-tutoring, library services and career services.
Some students even go abroad. For instance, more students working toward their Registered Nurse degrees are doing clinicals internationally, in places like Africa, Central America and Asia.
Typically, students take about eight credits per semester, participate in a January Term course, which runs for five weeks, and continue classes through the Summer Term.
“Most students think of their education as 12 months a year,” Gifford said. “The students who choose Linfield’s program want to excel. They have a higher level of expectations for the courses.”