TTU program provides individual tailoring to help students finish what they started

Tennessee Tech University’s Finish Your Degree program is proof that it really is never too late to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Kathy Thompson, an investigator of child abuse for the Department of Children’s Services, is just one of the TTU graduates who has followed that path to earning her degree, and Interdisciplinary Studies program coordinator Tammy Boles encourages others to follow.

“I have people tell me they have 200 hours or more and no degree or that they are too old to go back to school after only being out of school for 10 years,” Boles said. “This program offers the bridge back to college to actually finish for almost every situation.”

While everyone’s reasons for starting college but not finishing are somewhat different, two common patterns seem to emerge.
“There are so many people in our area without bachelor’s degrees who fall into two groups — those who started college, didn’t finish and want the personal accomplishment, and those who realize they’ve gone as far as they can go in their careers without a degree,” she said.

Thompson best fit into the second category.

“I’d always wanted to work for the Department of Children’s Services, doing something that has a direct impact on the lives of children, but I couldn’t have gotten this job without a bachelor’s degree,” she said.

Earlier in her life, Thompson had earned an associate’s degree from Roane State Community College but abandoned her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree when she realized the field of study she’d first chosen didn’t best suit her skills and interests.

After enrolling fulltime in TTU’s Finish Your Degree program while also working fulltime, she was able to take all but one of her classes online.

Thompson graduated in May 2006 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in criminal justice and sociology and was hired for her current position less than six months later.

“I have nothing but positive things to say about TTU and the Finish Your Degree program,” she said. “I’m so glad I did it. All of the knowledge I gained is remarkable, and the program worked out absolutely perfectly for me.”

Boles says it’s important that each potential student speak with her about their individual situation because each interdisciplinary studies degree is tailored specifically to the student, based on his or her credits earned and areas of emphasis.

Boles also advises returning students to start out slowly, maybe taking one or two classes per term.

For more information about the program, call Boles at 931/372-3394.

Students must apply for the fall term by Aug. 1. Classes begin Aug. 27.

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