Make Progress

Great news. You’re making incremental progress toward your goals. You might not see it or believe it yet, but we do. Big accomplishments like earning a certificate, finishing a degree, getting a job promotion and a raise, starting a new job, or transferring to a four-year college often occur through small, incremental successes over time. Here are a few examples of your successes at NC State:

  • Believing in you and the power of your mind
  • Embracing the growth mindset
  • Making the effort
  • Registering for classes each semester
  • Attending classes
  • Engaging in creative and critical thinking with faculty members, tutors, and fellow students
  • Completing assignments
  • Taking exams
  • Finishing classes
  • Completing a semester

You see? These are the incremental successes you are achieving right now. Keep going. And keep connecting with people on campus and in your family and community who provide you with encouragement and support.

  • After your first semester at NC State, your Success Coach will transition you to an Academic Liaison (Advisor), who is located in the building where your academic major is housed. Academic advising is essential for all NC State students, including adult learners. It’s a way to ensure that you continue to gain momentum toward achieving your goals and making your dreams and dream-job a reality.

    Research shows that adult learners who enroll for classes in their second semester are more likely to finish the classes they need for certificates and a degree. Academic advising helps you maintain the balance of and success with your academic life and, thus, your family life and work life as well. By making and keeping appointments with your Academic Liaison, you are developing a good habit—a good ritual and routine—of reviewing your goals and plans and making any necessary adjustments.

    Plan a Course of Study | Certificates and 2+2 or 3+1

    Your Academic Liaison will help you plan an initial course of study, which may include the following:

    • Certificate Programs (courses that enable you to earn a professional certificate that many employers reward with an increase in pay and position)
    • 2+2 Program (a two-year associate’s degree at NC State that transfers to a four-year college or university for a bachelor’s degree, leaving only two years of classes to complete and pay for)
    • 3+1 Program (a two-year associate’s degree at NC State, plus one year of bachelor’s-level courses at NC State that will transfer to a four-year college or university, leaving only one year of classes to complete and pay for)

    Important Tip

    The more transfer credits (classes) you complete at NC State, the more money you will save in the long run for your education. Classes at NC State cost considerably less than the same or similar classes at four-year colleges and universities that award bachelor’s degrees. This is another significant long-term return on your investment at NC State.

  • Once you have completed your core “gateway” courses—like college-level math and English—you will be immersed in courses for your certificate program(s) and degree: we call this your “major,” which means your “major field of study.” You are on-a-roll! Keep going. Research shows that students who are able to enroll in and complete at least two (2) courses every semester keep their momentum to finish with success. If you can do that, great news. If not, we understand. Remember to stay in touch with people on campus as a source of encouragement and inspiration. Stay in touch with people who have been helping you plan and manage your NC State experience. They will continue to help you make adjustments to your plan if you need it. Don’t forget these important steps:

    • Believe in you and your ability to learn, change, and grow
    • Attend your classes
    • Complete your assignments on time
    • Communicate with faculty members who teach your classes: ask questions and share your concerns
    • Connect with tutors if you need some help and personalized instruction
    • Connect with NC State’s Specialized Supportive Services (Disability Services) if you need help and special accommodations for coursework and test-taking
    • Connect with NC State’s free Personal Counseling Services if you need someone to listen without judgement about personal matters and make referrals to services in the community
    • Check-in with your Academic Liaison
    • Register for classes that enable you to complete Certificate Programs
    • Check-in from time to time with your Success Coach, just to let him or her know how you are doing
    • Practice your growth mindset (see “Embrace the Growth Mindset” section)

  • Here’s a reminder about how to build momentum and earn a return-on-your investment while you are attending NC State. You don’t have to wait to finish your degree to experience positive results like getting a promotion and making more money at work. Many adult learners complete courses that lead to professional certificates that many employers reward with an increase in pay and position. You might also earn multiple certificates (called “stacked” certificates) as you work toward a two-year associate’s degrees. Many of our certificate programs are eligible for financial aid. In addition, we have labor-market data about your earning potential with local employers.

  • Here’s another way to experience a return-on-your-investment in an NC State education. Visit the office of Career Development Services and develop a relationship with the staff. Learn how your NC State coursework and certificate programs can translate into a job promotion, job change, better pay, and new career path. Keep building your momentum toward your dreams and dream-job. Career services will help you explore the following:

    • Job searches
    • Career path ideas (using FOCUS2 testing)
    • Internships (and other for-credit, earn-and-learn opportunities in the community)
    • Writing a resume
    • Writing a cover letter
    • Interviewing skills
    • Interpersonal skills (“soft-skills”)
    • Training workshops (e.g., for resume-writing, LinkedIn, appropriate interview and business clothing)
    • Job fairs and other events with employers and their recruiters

  • An internship coordinator in the office of Career Development Services can talk to you about work-based learning and other experiential-learning opportunities with local employers. It’s one of the best ways to earn college credit for practical experiences in the job market, which you can highlight on a resume and in cover letters when you apply for promotions or jobs. It’s also one of the best ways to develop relationships with new employers, to increase your professional network, and to increase your opportunities to find a new job. Some employers will actually hire interns as part-time or full-time employees after the internship ends. Some internships will pay you a small salary or stipend. Some do not. Ask your Career Coach.

    Several NC State certificate and degree programs—like those in health sciences and social services—have internship requirements. Some certificate and degree programs do not require them but highly encourage them as a way to enter the job market and workforce. Adult leaners might be able to get an internship at their current jobs, for instance, in another department of the company.

  • We keep offering this advice about staying connected and staying in touch with helpful people on campus. We can’t help ourselves. It’s that important. Our research shows that adult learners who make the effort to keep in touch and communicate with NC State staff—like their success coach, academic liaison, tutors, instructors and faculty—and with fellow students tend to complete their classwork and earn their certificates and degrees. So remember to stay in touch. Make that phone call. Send that email. Post that message on social media.

    Related Resources

  • Many of the steps in the “Connect” and “Enter” stages of this website are relevant in this “Progress” stage of your NC State experience, so we’ll list them here. If you need a refresher, scroll up to these sections:

    • Apply for Financial Aid (you’ll need to re-apply periodically)
    • Register for Classes
    • Pay for Classes
    • Attend Your Classes & Complete Assignments
    • Connect with Tutors
    • Connect with Your Success Coach
    • Connect with Your Academic Liaison

  • NC State is dedicated to providing emergency aid to adult learners who may be experiencing unsuspected life events that challenge their academic success. We have some on-campus resources to help with basic needs like food, housing, healthcare, daycare, personal counseling, and financial crises. We can also make referrals to community-based services. Examples of crises that impact some adult learners and their families include the following:

    • Job change
    • Shift-change at work
    • Job loss/layoff
    • Unemployment
    • Reduction in earned income or safety-net benefits like Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Housing instability (e.g., threat of housing loss)
    • Utility shut-off (e.g., electricity, gas/heat, water, internet)
    • Foreclosure
    • Lack of food
    • Lack of transportation (e.g., car broken down, no money for bus fair)
    • Physical illness
    • Mental illness/ mental health symptoms
    • Substance use or substance abuse challenges

    Related Resources