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Penn State program that prepares adults for college wins new award

by on March 13, 2014 1:42 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK — More American jobs require postsecondary education, and by 2018, 22 million new college degrees will be needed to meet workforce demands, according to Georgetown University’s Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018 report. An innovative Penn State program aims to help achieve this goal. The Transitions: College and Career Prep program will receive the Excellence in Advancing Student Success Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) during the association’s annual conference March 27 in Miami.

UPCEA is an international professional association for those in higher continuing education and lifelong learning. The Excellence in Advancing Student Success Award is new this year and recognizes an institution that has implemented a successful strategic initiative, project or service that has resulted in significantly advancing the success of adult and/or nontraditional student audiences.

“Transitions: College and Career Prep is all about student success,” said Heather L. Chakiris, director, Advising and Learner Success, Penn State World Campus. “The program’s mission is to help adult learners succeed no matter where they choose to enroll. Since the program’s launch in 2011, nearly 90 adults have completed the program and about half have enrolled at Penn State.”

The Transitions program is designed to help adults acquire the skills and confidence to succeed in the college classroom. This free eight-week program is a collaborative initiative of Penn State and several Pennsylvania education organizations.

The program focuses on improving study skills, time management, test- and note-taking, and organizational skills as well as enhancing reading comprehension. Other topics include developing basic research, college-level writing and presentation skills; creating a personal education plan through career exploration; increasing basic computer capabilities; and understanding financial aid resources.

Adults participating in Transitions give the program high marks. One participant wrote that the program “opened my life to possibilities. Now, I have the power to do whatever I wish with my life.” Another participant added, “Without Transitions, I would have been lost and overwhelmed. Transitions gave me the motivation and courage to look beyond the present and see what I really wanted from the future.”

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