94 Year Old Woman With Perfect GPA Earns her College Degree Online
For so many of us, going back to school to earn a college degree can feel like an unattainable goal. Between full-time jobs, kids, and all of the other things that take priority in daily life, how can you make time to pursue your long-forgotten dream of finishing your college education?
For one Honolulu resident, the challenges of returning to school as an adult weren’t enough to stop her from reaching for the stars. At 94 years old, Amy Craton made the decision to jump headfirst back into college to finish her degree. Although she had attended school decades before, she had never finished the program after going through a divorce and needing to get a full-time job to support her four children.
At her age, Amy was obviously not the “typical” college student, so what made her want to step back into the world of college education?
As she told NBC News, “Sitting here one day in front of the computer, I thought, boy, I’m just wasting my time here. I think I’ll go back to college and finish my degree.”
And as simple as that, she made her dream a reality.
While there were definite obstacles to achieving her dream, Amy was able to think outside of the box to overcome the odds. Her location and physical challenges made traditional college courses impossible to complete, but at the suggestion of her son, she decided to look into online classes at Southern New Hampshire University.
The technological aspect of online degree programs didn’t faze her either. In fact, she says, “I’m on Facebook and I email. I’m all over. The minute I get up in the morning, I go over and I check the news here and in the world. I’m comfortable being online.”
Amy didn’t just attend her classes online either—she excelled at them. As of July 2016, she had only two terms left to complete to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and English and was maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA.
What Can We Learn From Amy Craton’s Story?
The circumstances surrounding Amy Craton’s story may be unusual, but the dream of an adult student returning to college to finish a degree is not uncommon. Over the last several years, more and more working adults have decided to take the first step towards pursuing a degree, and for many students, online classes give them the flexibility they need to succeed.
So, how can you take the inspiring message of Amy’s success and turn that into positive action for meeting your own long-term goals?
As they say, a journey begins with a single step, and finding the courage to think outside the box for your education is the first stepping stone towards meeting your long-term goals. There are many messages that we can take away from stories like Amy’s, and below we’ve put together a few tips on making her hopeful message work for you.
Secrets to Reaching Your Goals – Despite the Obstacles
1) Identify Your Long-Term Goals
Amy’s driving force behind enrolling in college, despite her age, was the passion she had for completing her life-long goals. Ever since leaving school when her children were young, Amy dreamed of finishing what she started with her degree program, and she believed that it was never too late to make that happen. She also has a passion for sharing her love of language with the world, and she plans on using her degree to write and publish poetry after graduation.
Committing to a degree program as a working adult can be overwhelming, but keeping your long-term goals in focus can help ease you through the process.
Do you want a degree to move up in your current job position? Do you dream of starting in an entirely new career? Are you tired of wondering “what if” about that degree you started years before?
By identifying the goals you have, both personally and professionally, you give yourself a clear starting point for taking the first step towards obtaining them.
2) Do Your Research Before You Commit to a School
When asked why she chose to enroll in Southern New Hampshire University, Amy said that it brought back happy childhood memories of vacations she took to that part of the U.S. While this might be an unusual way to choose a college, there was more to her choice than just nostalgia. Southern New Hampshire University is one of many universities throughout the United States that offer competitive, accredited degree programs in a virtual setting.
When choosing a school that is right for you, you need to consider several factors, including:
- Reputation and accreditation of the university
- Flexibility of class schedules
- Type and format of degree programs offered
- Student support and resources
- Tuition and financial aid
By doing your research before you commit to a college or university, you can ensure that the effort you are putting into your degree program has a positive outcome for you once you’re ready for the professional workforce.
3) Consider Flexible Degree Options
One of the most inspiring aspects of Amy’s story is her willingness to step outside of her comfort zone and pursue her degree program through online classes. While she made this choice due to her own health and physical limitations, there are many other benefits to researching online courses as well, including:
- Flexible classes that you can log-on to at a time that fits your schedule
- Options for accelerating your degree to finish faster
- Ability to attend a university outside of your geographical region
- Potential for reduced tuition costs
If you need the opportunity to work your education around your existing family and job commitments, online classes give you an excellent chance to earn your degree in a way that fits into your busy life.
4) Work Around the Challenges
There are always going to be obstacles on the journey of life, and challenges that come up through your college education are no exception—the important part is how you decide to handle them!
Beyond Amy’s age, she was also hard of hearing, in a wheelchair, and jumping back into an educational environment that looked much different than it had decades before when she first took college classes. However, she met each challenge head-on—even when it wasn’t easy.
For example, the time-zone difference between her location and the school made getting assignments in on-time difficult, and she often stayed up all night in order to submit the work. She says, “At nighttime, it’s a good time for me to do my studying and my writing. It will be sometimes 5 o’clock in the morning before I go to bed.”
Whatever it is that is preventing you from getting through your degree program, know that there is a solution to every problem—you just might have to think outside the box in order to find it.
If you are one of the millions of adults every year that decide to take the plunge back into college classes, know that you aren’t alone! Sure, there are challenges that are bound to pop up when balancing school with daily adult life, but now more than ever, there are ways to work around the problems and reach your goals.
By carefully researching your options, identifying your passions, and considering flexible online courses, you too can be like Amy and accomplish anything you set out to do. After all, age is just a number, and as Amy says, “It’s never dull. I’ve always got something to do. And I’m always learning something.”