St. Louis Women on the Move
July 1, 2006
Balancing tight schedules and multiple demands on time doesn't mean working women can't pursue a higher education.
Just ask the nearly 3,000 working adults who have earned undergraduate and graduate degrees offered by Fontbonne University OPTIONS, a program designed specifically to meet the needs of adult students, like graduate Tiffani Howard.
"What I liked about OPTIONS, from the beginning, was that my entire schedule was planned out," says Howard, a mother of two who earned a Bachelor of Organizational Studies degree in May 2006.
Like most working mothers, Howard didn't have time to waste. In addition to being mom to two young daughters, she works with TLC Vision full-time and has been employed with Enterprise Rent-A-Car for 6 1/2 years.
Most OPTIONS courses are five to eight weeks in length. All degree programs have been sequenced to be completed in two years or less. OPTIONS even has answers for students who want to get started toward a bachelor's degree, but have little or no prior college credit. OPTIONS Gateway provides the liberal arts foundation for a degree and serves as a stepping stone into any of the OPTIONS bachelor degree programs.
Gateway was perfect for Howard, who started the program in 2002. The accelerated format can be completed in about 19 months, taking two courses at a time.
"I have had support for everyone from day one for my schooling," says Howard. "That's what I would tell anyone thinking about going back to school. Make sure you have a support system and yes, you can do this. You are worthy."
Howard found she was able to apply what she learned in the classroom to her work environment right away.
"For one thing, you become a better writer," she says. "The class projects make you more comfortable speaking in front of others and running meetings. I found my supervisors looking to me for leadership roles, and I know it was because of the training I was receiving with OPTIONS.
Even before she went through Fontbonne's commencement ceremony in May, Howard had already identified her next goal: a master's degree. In June, she started working toward the OPTIONS Master of Management program.
"Being at Fontbonne has pushed me to want to continue my education," she says. "Things are always changing and there's always something new around the corner. I want to be ready for whatever that is. "
OPTIONS classes meet on the same evening each week. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are accelerated and begin throughout the year at several convenient locations: Clayton, South County, North County and Chesterfield.
Fontbonne University has been a provider of high-quality educational programs for more than 80 years. For more information about your OPTIONS, call 314-863-2220 or visit the website at www.options.fontbonne.edu.
with permission, copyright (2006) St. Louis Women on the Move