But that doesn’t mean your dreams have to end


Getting out of high school, I had my life all planned out – study a couple of years at a regional university, and then transfer to one of Oklahoma’s big schools to get a degree in architecture.

It started out pretty well; the only deviation from the plan was that I’d gotten married after my freshman year of college. As I was wrapping up my sophomore year, a job opportunity came along that was too good to pass up, and few months later, another one. About 18 months after quitting school, along came a baby. Before too long, I looked up and I had been a college dropout for nine years. I was the poster child for the phrase, “life got in the way.”

Those job opportunities that once looked so promising didn’t look so rosy anymore. In fact, I was told that my salary at that business was pretty much maxed out. Then, my wife informed me we had another baby on the way.

It was at that point that I had to decide if this was the end of my college dream. I bit the bullet and went for it. I applied for a federal student loan and worked my class schedule around my job. Four semesters later, I walked across the stage in Cameron Stadium to accept my diploma. The decision turned out to be one of the best of my life. Within a couple of months after completing my degree work, I landed a job that had twice the salary as I previously was earning before I went back to college.*

These days, some things haven’t changed. Life still gets in the way of college dreams. But some things have changed. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have developed “Reach Higher,” a program to give those who dropped out of college a way to earn their degree. It’s a program tailored for working adults.

Courses are set up on an eight-week rotation, giving adult students the chance to wrap up course work faster than the traditional semester-long format. Most core courses are offered online. Students are placed into classes with other working adults so that they can share experiences with their peers.

The program is offered at almost every Oklahoma college and university. Requirements are tailored for colleges offering associate degrees and universities offering bachelor’s degrees. Those who enroll in Cameron University’s program earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership.

So what’s your investment? To be eligible for the adult degree completion program at Cameron University, you must be at least 21 and have already completed 72 or more college credit hours with a 2.0 GPA or higher. You may have to satisfy requirements for remedial coursework and must have met CU’s general education requirements.

And what do you get? Cameron’s organizational leadership degree prepares students for success in government, nonprofit, corporate or industrial careers. Courses focus on management, business, communication, leadership, ethics and data analysis.

*This is where I have to put in the disclaimer that “individual results may vary according to degree field” and “I can’t guarantee you’ll double your salary overnight.” But I can also swear that “this is NOT a dramatization.” Best of all, you will have earned your college degree that can open so many doors.