What Are You Afraid Of?

October 23, 2023

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Rollins College Professional Advancement student on a laptop.
Will I have enough time? From our hybrid in-person and online format to evening classes and learn-at-your-pace tracks, Rollins Professional Advancement gives you the flexibility to fit college into your busy life.Photo by Scott Cook.

Going back to college can be scary, but have no fear—we’re here to help you overcome what’s holding you back from finishing your bachelor’s degree and advancing your career.

The spooky season is upon us, and we recognize that for many of you, the thought of returning to school can be as frightening as a knife-wielding masked man in a jumpsuit. In the spirit of Halloween, we’re here to help you face your fears and provide the information and guidance you need to overcome these anxieties.

Rollins College Professional Advancement commencement
Photo by Scott Cook.

1. Going back to school can be pricey. Can I afford it?

Pursuing a degree can feel financially daunting. Rollins offers an array of scholarships and financial aid to ease the cost of tuition and help you reach your educational goals. You are automatically considered for scholarships when you apply, and 90 percent of Rollins Professional Advancement (PA) students with demonstrated need receive an aid package of around $14,000, significantly reducing the net annual tuition to an average of $2,000. Each year, PA students tap into nearly $4 million in scholarships and financial aid.

“Rollins provides many scholarship options and financial-aid opportunities, which allowed me to attend at the same cost and in some cases at a lower cost than the public universities I was considering,” says Shaffaq Noor ’18, founder of project management firm Bijli. “As a result, I received a high-quality education in a great learning environment without burdening me with a large amount of debt.”

Rollins Professional Advancement advisor assisting a student.
Photo by Scott Cook.

2. Requirements may have changed since I was in college. Will I be able to get in?

Fear not. At Rollins Professional Advancement, we’ve streamlined the admission process to clear your path back to school, and our counselors are here to guide you through the entire process. Our guaranteed admission policy means that as long as you hold a minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA, your place in one of Rollins’ flexible and affordable Professional Advancement programs is assured. Apply today with no application fee and no standardized tests required.

“Rollins always seemed like this exciting, prestigious school, and I thought I’d never be able to go anywhere like that," says Kim Clayton ’23, a Rollins Professional Advancement student pursuing her degree in communication and health-care management. “It was kind of an unanswered or unspoken dream, but my advisor was so sweet and persistent. Over the course of two years, she checked in with me and offered her help. That support plus the flexibility of the class times and the programs offered worked for me. I knew Rollins would help me succeed and give me the tools I need. The faculty and staff were patient and walked me through it and gave me options. That took a lot of pressure off, especially during a lot of uncertainty in my life.”

Professional Advancement student taking an online class
Photo by Scott Cook.

3. I’m so busy. Do I have enough time?

Finishing your degree at Rollins will be one of your life’s most important milestones, but we know it’s just one of the priorities you’re juggling. That’s why we’ve baked flexibility into every aspect of our Professional Advancement programs, which are designed specifically for working adult learners like you. Our classes are conveniently timed to suit your schedule, and our part- and full-time tracks allow you to earn your degree at your own pace. Our flexible hybrid model combines the best of in-person and online learning environments, while new class start times at 6 p.m. or later make it easier than ever to get you on the path to advancing your career.

“Rollins offers a wide variety of classes on different days, which has made it easy for me to work around my child’s schedule as well as my work schedule,” says Christie Versace ’24, a communication major. “The hybrid model has helped a lot because we alternate classes—one week in-person classes and the next week online. I travel a lot for work, so I can just do the assignments while away and not have to worry about being in class at a specific location every time.”

Professional Advancement Research Methods class with Tanja Vierrether
Photo by Scott Cook.

4. I’ve already taken some classes. Will my credits transfer?

Understanding how your credits will transfer is likely a major part of your decision to return to college, so we’re here to help you figure it out. Rollins accepts credit from everywhere—from accredited colleges and universities to the military and professional certifications. Your dedicated advisor will help chart an individualized course plan based on your transfer credits award, and if you have your AA, you’ve already met your general education requirements.

In our Professional Advancement programs, there are no access limitations on majors—you have the freedom to choose from a wide array of studies that fit your interests, which increases the transfer credits that apply directly to your major requirements. On average, more than 90 percent of our students’ credits are accepted, which is just one of the reasons why Rollins is consistently ranked among the nation’s best colleges for transfer students by Phi Theta Kappa.

“I was worried about how many of my credits would transfer,” says Clayton. “There were like four or five different transcripts I had to get, and I wasn’t sure if a lot of those classes would count toward my degree. My professors and the administrative staff worked with me, went through my transcripts, and made sure I carried over the maximum number of credits, even if classes were similar or were named differently. That helped a lot, and it saved me a lot of money. Most importantly, it encouraged me that I can do this. I’m a little bit closer to finishing. I don’t have to start all the way over.”

Professional Advancement Pathways to Teaching class
Photo by Scott Cook.

5. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in school. Will I be able to keep up?

At Rollins, your success is our No. 1 priority. We pride ourselves on fostering an intimate and engaging learning environment, ensuring you aren’t lost in overflowing auditoriums or disengaged by uninspired lecturers. With an average class size of just 14 students—most of whom are also juggling many priorities—Rollins takes a personalized, hands-on, interactive approach to learning that emphasizes application and critical thinking over memorization and prescriptive lectures. The Princeton Review has recognized this commitment to an exceptional classroom experience, ranking Rollins No. 1 in Florida and No. 23 in the nation.

Gallup research reveals that college graduates who had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning, and encouraged their dreams were twice as likely to thrive in both their lives and careers. Our supportive faculty, consistently rank among the region’s top professors, are passionate about teaching, and are committed to helping you finish your bachelor’s degree and advance your career.

“The class sizes are small, and you learn so much,” says Nina Steigerwald ’20, a PhD candidate at the University of Central Florida. “The professors know you, keep you engaged, and understand your needs. It’s an inclusive environment, and we support each other like family.”

Rollins Professional Advancement student with her family on graduation day.
With the help of Rollins’ Professional Advancement program, Daniebeth Martinez Negron ’23—who graduated at the top of her class—juggled many competing priorities on her journey to becoming the first person in her family to earn a college degree.Photo by Zach Stovall.

6. I’m afraid of failing. Will I be able to finish?

You’re unique and so are your career goals. That’s why we’ve never believed in a cookie-cutter approach to education. At Rollins, you’ll craft a one-of-a-kind educational journey that is tuned to where you’ve been and where you’re going. We’ll have your back every step of the way. Every Professional Advancement student has the support of a dedicated academic advisor from orientation through graduation. Your advisor will help create an individualized course plan based on your transfer credits and completion timeline.

Surrounded by a network of expert staff, faculty, and alumni, you’ll find support and guidance before, during, and after your time at Rollins. Notably, the Center for Career & Life Planning (CCLP) and our alumni mentorship program, Career Champions, empower students to foster professional connections as alumni share career-related knowledge, advice, and experiences. Orlando boasts one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country, and our programs are designed to prepare you to take advantage of all that opportunity and help you thrive.

“It took me almost 20 years and eight schools to finish college, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the entire Rollins community,” says Eric Reichwein ’18, a senior account director at specialty pharmacy Accredo. “Rollins gives you the one-on-one attention you need and walks you through every step of the application process. My Rollins degree has opened doors that I couldn’t have imagined. My career has skyrocketed, and I made friendships for life.”

Tiffany Jones ’16 at Google in Atlanta.
Photo by Scott Cook.

7. It’s a big investment of time and money. Will it be worth it?

When you finish your bachelor’s degree at Rollins, you’ll have the expertise, experience, and connections you need to advance your career and unlock your full professional potential. The dividends of a Rollins education start at graduation and grow over time. In fact, typical earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are 84 percent higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn $721,000 more than peers who have some college and $541,000 more than associate’s degree holders.

“When you look at where I am now—working for Google—and where I was when I changed careers, it’s life-changing,” says Tiffany Jones ’16, an export compliance program manager at the tech giant. “The experiences I had at Rollins and the caliber of education I received are unmatched—and invaluable. My children got to see their mom fulfill her dreams, and my daughter thinks it’s so cool that I work for Google, even if she doesn’t understand what I do. She’s proud of me, and I know I’ve opened doors for her she might not have otherwise. Those are the benefits and rewards that you can’t even envision when you’re in the thick of it and wondering if it’s all worth it. Trust me, it is.”

A Rollins professional advancement student in class.

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Get answers to all your questions about returning to college to finish your bachelor’s degree from real Rollins Professional Advancement students.

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